I bought a roast chicken from the takeaway food counter at one of our local supermarkets on last Saturday and conveniently forgotten about it until yesterday. It’s not the first time and I’m sure it wouldn’t be the last either. Many ingredients are left only to be rediscovered later. Some have been tugged away in some dark corner for so long that awaits excavation! After sitting in the fridge for 3 days, the roast chicken had already gone passed its prime. Thankfully it was very well sealed in a bag all this while and the chicken stayed still rather succulent. The best way to use it? Tonnes of ways to go about that… eat with Chinese egg noodles alongside a home concocted sauce, shredding the meat and enjoy it with Chinese porridge any style be it Teochew or Cantonese, or simply chunk and toss into a salad. I happen to have a bag of tortillas which I bought with some friends when we went to Mustafa last Friday. Roast Chicken in a Tortilla Wrap sounds real good, especially when it comes with a homemade Mango Salsa!
How time flies and we are into the last quarter of the year already. Mid-Autumn Festival was just over a week back and I’m glad to have finally found time to make some mooncakes this year after a long hiatus for a couple of years. Thankfully this year’s mooncakes turned out alright. As I’d mentioned before in my old blog post 4 years back, I’d always looked forward to the Mid-Autumn Festival because it was always a time for family to come together and enjoy a meal. Pomelo are my favorites from this festival’s delectables, more so than mooncakes! I bought 3 large pomelos before the festival for a song and they are still sitting quietly, waiting to be pried open. And for me, there is no better way to enjoy pomelo than in the classic dessert, 楊枝甘露 Mango Pomelo Sago. (more…)
A question which I’d been getting from some friends and readers of late is, “What have you been baking lately?” Well knowing their kind intentions, I replied them with a honest “nothing much”, discounting the usual pandan chiffons, christmas fruit cakes and CNY pineapple tarts and cookies of course. Indeed, the direction of this blog has changed somewhat compared to how it was conceptualised years back when I first started to write about the confections I make at home. Don’t get me wrong, pastry is still my passion, which I am always ready to engage in fervent discussion with anyone who broaches the topic. But so is cooking. Which came first, cooking or baking? Not quite exactly a chicken or egg question but I think I had sufficient grounding in both since young. But the question from these friends and readers brought me back to the very reasons how this blog had begun, to share my passion for pastry and baking, so I guess it is also timely for a quick revision of my pastry 101s…
My story with the mango and passionfruit pairing started back in 2011, when I first made Hidemi Sugino‘s “Tahiti タヒチ – Tarlette au Mangue et Fruit de la Passion“. It was a beautiful creation which I hope to make again some time soon in the near future. Hopefully when miyazaki mangoes become more affordable(I wish!), or when I have access to the cheaper Taiwan grown variety. Then in 2012, triggered by the Diner en Blanc saga (read about it here), El Tropicano was born, a plated dessert comprising of a soya bean panna cotta and a fruits tartare with mango and passionfruit as the main components. It was made somewhat tongue-in-cheek and in a slightly spiteful manner if I might add, now thinking in retrospect but all in good fun. Then in 2014, I opted for something simpler, and made a Mango and Passionfruit Yoghurt Pudding which was simple but no less yummy. Needless to say, the matrimony of these two much loved tropical fruits is high on my favorites’ list. And now 2015, I’d cracked my head again, this time for a cheesecake-based entremet, named “Tahiti v.2015” after Sugino’s creation which got me all started.
Summer is definitely in full swing now with the heat. Nothing better to beat the heat wave with a refreshing and cooling dessert. Couple of years back, I’d made renowned Japanese patissier Hidemi Sugino’s “Tartlette au Mangue at Fruit de la Passion” which he named “Tahiti タヒチ” and the flavours remain vivid in my mind. Mango and passionfruit are a match made in heaven afterall. It inspired me to create a chilled dessert which marries these two delicious tropical fruits, my Mango and Passionfruit Yoghurt Pudding.
It is mango season again and we see an assortment of mangoes from all over. From the honey and rainbow mangoes from Thailand, to the Benishaan and Alphonsoes from India, each visit to the local supermarket often involves getting hit by heavily perfumed wafts of heady aroma they exude. Each variety has its own distinct fragrance, devised by its own unique concoction of volatile chemicals which contribute to a sometimes intoxicating brew making them distinguishable from one another. However, many cultivars nowadays are grown for certain attributes like being less fibrous and longer shelf life in place of others like flavour and aroma! As a result some varieties like the Tommy Atkins which do not taste and smell very much are still in cultivation and widely sold, though hardly anyone buys them as far as I know! As far as I’m concerned, I still prefer very much my Harumanis, buah binjai and buah kuini when they are in season!
Like ルージュ Rouge, this is a plated dessert which I’d created in conjunction of EAT AND MAKE TAU HUAY DAY. Rouge was concocted out of my love for fruits aux rouges. I love berries of all sorts, wholeheartedly worshipping the intricacies that could be teased out of these little parcels bursting with flavour! El Tropicano is inspired by the fruits de la saison we were enjoying at that moment in time. The use of mango and passionfruit together with lemon balm mint is heavily inspired by Hidemi Sugino’s tartelette “Tahiti タヒチ” which I’d made a year back and fell in love ever since. But of course, there were Ai Wen Mangoes then! likewise, I’d used lemon balm for the outburst of refreshing citrusy aroma. Added additional dimension of using pineapple since we had some S&W Sweet 16 pineapples from the Phillippines! It would be really lovely to add a coconuty twist in it but everything was made in a rush, pieced together on a last minute basis. So pina colada would have to wait until another time!
Diner en Blanc‘s first appearance in Asia ended with a blast, owing to the much reported local-food-bloggers-uninvited-and-local-food-disallowed saga. The whole fiasco went completely viral and took a life of its own to bring about much talk, as well as publicity on it over the last week or so. Extensive coverage all over social media through Facebook, as well as various high profile blogs like Mr Brown and ieatishootipost. There was a lot of discussion over Diner en Blanc’s initial reaction to local delights like tau huay and soon kueh, rousing much sentiments, mostly deeming the event as snotty, poncy and pretentious. It went all high drama when the PR company in-charge of the event went on to “disengage themselves” just barely before the day of the event itself, citing a “misalignment of perspectives” with the local organisers. Some bloggers decided to play devil’s advocate and questioned the blogger in question‘s share of responsibility leading to the whole social media fiasco. On the whole, it received a lot of media coverage, IMO a lot more than what it should and normally would, both locally and abroad, with “no-so-honorable mentions” from WSJ and AFP. The whole saga was meant to be called to a halt with a coverage on ieatishootipost’s lunch interview with DeB’s founders as well as an official statement addressed “Dear Singapore” on DeB Singapore’s website. Well that was after its facebook page was taken down amidst the outpour of criticisms and mobbing by local netizens. So has the saga really ended? Meanwhile, the DnB fiasco also sparked off several other events which were “coincidentally” scheduled on 30 Aug 2012, when Diner en Blanc was slated to commence in a “secret location” which turned out to the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands. Who would have guessed… Anyway, spin offs like SuperWhite, Makan Day took place alongside Diner en Blanc, and so did our MAKE AND EAT TAU HUAY DAY!
No reviews on the works of a patisserie is complete without a look at their entremets, which in my humble opinion, is one of the litmus test to the skills and creativity in taste, texture and technique for a patissier. Then again, I have a whole checklist of lil’ quirky things which I look out for when I visit a new patisserie, e.g. how smooth is the creme patisserie made, how thin is the L’Opera being layered and how neatly is it being cut etc… much like how seemingly trivial tamagoyaki making skills, amidst his knife skills, is attesting to the greatness of a sushi chef.
Bearing contrast and yet homogenising all the components together, bringing about conflict and yet blending in everything in perfect harmony, tantalising the tastebuds and yet provide equilibrium all within the confinements of that small oblongish slab of cake, mousse and what nots; not an easy task if you ask me…
Bakerzin launched four new tarts a couple of weeks ago but they most certainly beared resemblance to some of the familiar favorites we know. Utilising some Bakerzin dining vouchers we had, we’d got some for a sampling.
This “summer” brought us a guest and boy o’ boy did she appear in all pomp and circumstance fanfare! Donned in a fiery sanguine number, all so thinly cladded, only to reveal her succulent, creamy bosoms in brilliant sunset yellow, alluringly seductive and inviting for one to sink his teeth in, to draw upon all her nectary essence and suck the very bone marrow out of her life. No, I’m not about to embark in some B-grade erotic horror flick, but indeed the taste and textures of Ai Wen Mangoes AWM 爱文芒果 from Taiwan can most certainly be described as being orgasmic, probably something which many of you out there have not experienced for a rather long time. *chuckles*
My virginal concurrence with AWM dated many years back at a dessert parlour in Taipei which boasted to serve 挫冰 shaved ice topped with chunky morsels of it. And it was not just any AWM, but the crème à la crème ones grown in 玉井 Yujing area from 台南县 Tainan County. One mouthful and I was sold!!! Unlike the other asian mango varieties we had back then, the textures of AWM was something which I’d not encountered. The flesh was creamy yet oddly, was also imbued with a bouncy gelatinous like texture, so you can imagine the
foreplay interplay with the tastebuds! The experience was so surreal as its almost like eating fruit jelly. It was also on the dot on the Brix scale with perfectly controlled sugar levels. And the best part was, unlike many other versions available elsewhere, no condensed/evaporated milk or mango puree/concentrate/syrup was added. All naturel! Subsequent trips to Taiwan were all in the “wrong” time of the year and did not coincidence with AWM season. So you can imagine the excitement when I chanced upon them again recently and quickly snapped up half a dozen first. A few were eaten the first moments after reaching home with them. A reprise of fond memories. But what better way to glorify their magnificence than to encapsulate all of its essence in one of the creations by the great Japanese patissier 杉野英実 Hidemi Sugino, Tartlette aux Mangue et Fruits de la Passion, which he aptly named Tahiti タヒチ.