Archive | March, 2011

An Italian affair : Cacio e pepe

29 Mar

Over the weekend, I went to an Italian restaurant at Rochdale Road. Well, those of you who stay around Serangoon/Upper Paya Lebar may be familiar with this road. However, when I was first told about this place, I was like “hum?! where is this place?”

Anyway, the restaurant is Cacio e pepe at 4 Rochdale Road. We ordered quite a number of dishes, some were really good, some were alright but the desserts were a great disappointment.

Okay let’s talk about the hit. For antipasti, we had 3 servings of Calamari Fritti, 2 servings of Portobello and 2 servings of Vongole & Cozze.  All the antipasti that we tried were great especially the Portobello.  As for the Calamari, avoid dipping the sauce if you are not into too spicy stuff. After a while, we just ate the Calamari neat.  The Vongole & Cozze was nice too, like clams in wine. *yum*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Calamari with special chef sauce

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fresh Portobello mushrooms baked with crab meat and prawn finished with rich gorgonzola sauce. *YUM*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sautéed clams and mussel simmered in a white wine sauce

For the mains, we had Prosciutto Parma Ham Pizza, Risotto Granchio, Gnocchi Marinari, Spaghetti Carbonara and Home-made Pappardelle con Salsa di Tartufo. For the Prosciutto Parma Ham Pizza, the crust was alright but the cheese was a bit salty for our liking. The Risotto Granchio (Risotto in tomato sauce with crab meat, zucchini with white wine cherry tomato) reminded me of wet cooked rice fried with tomato ketchup. I will definitely not order that again. The spaghetti carbonara was a bit dry.  Maybe we did not order the right dishes, but will I go back to try again?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry guys, only managed to capture a picture of the pizza.

For the desserts, we had Lava Cake, Rum Lava Cake and Tiramisu. The ice cream that came with the Lava Cake tasted weird and the tiramisu was such a disappointment for an italian restaurant!  I think I can do better!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disappointing Tiramisu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lava Cake

As for the service, there were only 2 waitress that noon. Not really attentive as it took them quite a while to get us extra napkins. We also ordered coffee after the meal and 2 of our orders were kinda of forgotten.

I probably will not go back as I think the place is a bit out of the way for me and I think there is really nothing great that makes me want to go back again. However, if I stay around that area, maybe I will give it a try again, maybe

Cacio e pepe

4 Rochdale Road

Tel :  6281 1905

Service : 2.5/5

Food : 3/5 ( Decided to give a 3 as the antipasti were good and maybe I ordered the wrong mains that day.)

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Bananarama : Double Chocolate Banana Tart

22 Mar

The books that I ordered from Amazon arrived 2 weeks ago. One of them was “Around My French Table” by Dorie Greenspan. As I was flipping thru’ the book, a few recipes caught my attention and one of them was the double chocolate banana tart.

So I decided to make the tart last weekend.

Whole Tart :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Half Tart :

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To make a 9″ to 9-1/2″ chocolate tart shell, you need :

  • 1-1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (valrhona preferred)
  • 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 9 tbls cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  • 1 large yolk

Method :

  1. Add flour, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and mix the dry ingredients well by pulsing a few times. Add cold butter to the flour mixture and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely. At this stage, you may have some pieces the size of peas.
  2. Add yolk to the flour mixture a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. After all the yolk has been added, process in long pulse until all ingredients are well-blended.
  3. Gather the dough into a ball and flatten it into a disk, wrap it with cling wrap and chill it for a couple of hours.
  4. Take the dough out from the fridge and roll it out evenly between sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap. Turn the dough over frequently and lifting the wax paper or plastic often so that it does not roll into the dough and form creases. Roll the dough until it is 1/4 “- thick and at least 12” in diameter.
  5. Fit the dough into a well-battered tart pan. Trim off excess dough and prick the crust all over and freeze for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking. (I would recommend that you freeze the crust overnight)
  6. Bake the frozen crust at 190C for 25-30 mins or until cook.
  7. Transfer the tart shell to a cooling rack and allow the crust to cool before filling it up.

While cooling or baking the tart, you can prepare the caramelized bananas filling. Side view of the tart with the caramelized bananas :



 

 

 

 

 

 

To make the caramelized bananas, you need :

  • 1 ripe but firm banana
  • Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1-1/2 tbls unsalted butter
  • 3-1/2 tbls sugar

Method :

  1. Cut the banana into 1/8″-thick slices and toss them with lemon juice to prevent them from blackening.
  2. In a large skillet (non-stick preferred), over high heat, toss in the butter. When the butter melts and starts to bubble, add the sliced bananas. Make sure that they are coated with butter.
  3. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter-coated bananas and cook, turning, until they are golden and caramel-coated on both sides.
  4. Transfer the caramelized bananas to a plate lined with parchment paper and pat them gently on both sides with paper towels to remove any excess butter. Cool to room temperature.

To make the bittersweet ganache, you need :

  • 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbls heavy cream
  • 4 tbls (1/2 stick) unsalted butter cut into 4 pieces, room temperature

Method :

  1. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
  2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and pour it over the chocolate. Gently stir the chocolate and cream together using a whisk or spatula until the ganache is smooth and shiny.
  3. Stir in the butter, piece by piece.
  4. Arrange the caramelized bananas in an even layer over the bottom of the crust, then pour over the ganache.
  5. Place the tart in the fridge for 30 mins to an hour to set the ganache.

To make the banana topping, you need :

  • 1/2 cup apricot jam, strained
  • 2-3 ripe but firm bananas
  • Fresh lemon juice

Method :

  1. Bring the apricot jam to a boil in a saucepan.
  2. Peel the bananas and cut them in 1/4″-thick slant slices. Toss them lightly with a little  lemon juice, making sure that the sliced bananas are not too wet.
  3. Arrange the bananas slices in concentric circles over the top of the tart, starting from the outer edge and slightly overlap the slices in a circle. Continue building concentric circles, having each circle slightly overlap its neighbour.
  4. Brush the bananas with a thick coating of hot jam, glazing them evenly.
  5. Allow the glaze to cool and set.

Poached Eggs : Domestic vs Professional

19 Mar

Yesterday, I had a lovely lunch with my friends at this small cool cafe at 50 Craig Road, The Plain. I love the ambience but maybe they could change the music they play, maybe?

Well, I ordered a flat white and darling’s eggs. Darling’s eggs is basically poached egg over a slice of sourdough toast with ham, cheese and roma tomatoes.

I’m so inspired by the tasty poached eggs that I have decided to my own version for breakfast this morning.

So this is the cafe version:

and… this is my version,tartar!

I’ve been attending foundation french cooking classes at Palate Sensation for the past 8 weeks and was taught to make eggs benedict aka poached eggs during one of the lessons.  The trick to making great poached egg is the vinegar in the boiling water. The acidity of the vinegar will help to breakdown the protein faster, thus cooking the eggs faster. This will prevent the egg from overcooking.

To make poached eggs, you need :

  • Good quality eggs (I would recommend using organic eggs)
  • Water and Vinegar, 1 cup of water to 1 tbl of  vinegar

Method :

1. Crack the egg into a bowl. I would not recommend cracking the egg over boiling water. Can very messy and may not give you the best looking poached egg.

2. Add vinegar to water and bring to a simmer. Before the water hit the boiling point, add the egg. Using a spoon and gently ‘gather’ the white together.


3. Scoop the egg with a perforated  laden.

4. Serve while hot

Cumi Bali, a little gem along Tanjong Pagar Road

16 Mar

Half an hour before lunch, my lunch kaki, Jan, told me she was having craving for Indonesian food. We decided to ask a few colleagues to join us so we could pig out!

Cumi Bali Indonesia Restaurant is located along Tanjong Pagar Road. According to my colleague, KL, the restaurant is opposite Sophia Bridal Shop. So you can use that as the landmark to locate the restaurant.

When we reached the restaurant, they were already  90% full.  We were lucky to get a table without any reservation.  So we ordered our food and proceed upstairs. I would definitely recommend that you sit upstairs as it is cooler and nicer. We ordered BBQ Squid, Satay Chicken, Brinjal, Wrapped fish, Begedil and Kang Kong. 6 dishes for 4 person, hum, did we over-ordered?  I think so because at the end of the meal, all of us felt so sleepy.

Sorry, the pictures are a bit dark as the restaurant was quite dim… but trust me, the food is great and good.

BBQ Squid, love the spicy and sweet sauce. Squid was chewy and soft and it had a tint of “char” taste.  Kang Kong, Begadil and Satay chicken were also served at the same time.  Satay chicken was tasty and well-seasoned.

10 minutes later, the brinjal and the wrapped fish came. Wrapped fish is one of their signature dishes. It’s fish wrapped with Otah. Something special, would recommend that you order this if you love fish and otah. However, you must be prepared to wait as the restaurant only start preparing the dish when you place an order. Now, the surprise was the brinjal dish. Initially, I thought the chilli topping of brinjal dish was just plain belacan chilli. BUT NO… it was belacan cai po!  Very special and nice! *Thumbs up*  I will definitely order this dish again and eat it with a different perspective!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So the bill came to $93, which I think is quite decent. I would definitely come back again!

 

Cumi Bali Indonesia Restaurant

66 Tanjong Pagar Road

Tel : 6220-6619

Service : 3/5, Food : 4/5