Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pan-fried Couscous with Pork Bones Stock & Salmon

Recently LO displayed much more interest in our table food, even to the extend of wanting to eat whatever is on my plate.
Therefore, I decided to do away with the daily porridge dinner and tried cooking something different in hope that her appetite will increase.

Bought couscous some time back but yet to have the chance to try it. Heard it takes a short time to be cooked, which means I can whipped out something for LO fast once I am back from work.

For the uninitiated, couscous is closely related to pasta, as durum wheat, ground into semolina flour, is the same type of wheat that is most commonly used for making pasta. So it is actually a differnt type of grain, but is rich in protein.
Preparing couscous can be quick and easy. It can be added to a pot of boiling water or stock, the pot is then covered and the water is absorbed into the couscous in about five minutes.

Butter (unsalted) or Olive Oil
1 clove of garlic (sliced)
Choice of vegetables (I used spinach & pumpkin)
Salmon (Diced) or Chicken if you prefer
1 cup pork bones Stock
Melted cheese (Optional)

1) Add butter or olive oil once the saucepan is heated up
2) Sautéed garlic til golden brown
3) Add in salmon and stir
4) Add in vegetables and cheese and continue to stir
5) Add in couscous and stir to coat
6) Pour in the stock slowly while continue to stir the couscous to coat it with the stock
7) Bring to a boil
8) Reduce heat to lowest setting
9) Cover and cook until the stock is being absorbed by the couscous
10) Fluff with a fork to separate the grains
11) Ready to be served

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Afternoon Delight @ Conrad Centennial Lobby Lounge

There is nothing better in the world than to sit back into cosy, plush cushions and watch the world go by on a lazy Sunday afternoon...

Hubs and I love to hang out at the Lobby Lounge for its cozy atmosphere which makes us feel instantly relaxed. The Lobby Lounge is set amidst marble pillars and with an opulent 24-carat gold leaf ceiling, which exudes elegance. Coupled with low ambient lighting, pretty floral arrangements, and plush seatings, this is an ideal rejuvenating haven to relax, enjoy an afternoon meal and sip various tea blends. There is a choice of sitting on the high-back leather chairs or deep-seat settees.
This was our 2nd visit and we were given the settees this time round. Oooh, I can really fall asleep admist the plush cushions.

Once we were shown to our seats, we were handed the drinks menu to select our choice of tea or coffee. These beverages are included in the afternoon tea. Lobby Lounge served tea from Ronnefeldt and there are 18 varieties in the Tea selection for us to choose from.
Hubs chose Irish Whiskey Cream while I chose the Carribean Summer.

Irish Whiskey Cream falls under the Black Tea selection. It is a malty Assam autumn tea with whiskey and cocoa aroma. It really smells like the real thing, once the tea was poured into his cup.
It makes hubs feel like he is drinking Irish whiskey cream minus the alcohol.

Carribean Summer is one of the Flavoured Fruits Infusions, which is consists  of hibiscus, rose hip peel, apples, pieces of pineapples, mango, papaya, Cornflowers, rose and sunflower parts. This is really a blend of exotic spices and fruits. Very refreshing and light, while sweet and slightly tangy.

The teapot has a separate compartment for the tea leaves and we were told that if we wanted our tea to be strong, we should stand our teapot with the handle at the bottom. If we prefer our tea to be light, then the teapot should be standing with the handle at the top.

 Marinated & Smoked Salmon, Japanese Sushi & Maki Rolls, "Salad Nicoise" with Grilled Yellow Fin Tuna, Selection of premium age cold cuts with picked vegetables

Salad bar and cheese counter
We particularly love the marinated salmon. The sushi was also fresh. The salad bar though was small, it is really decent and I favoured the lemon dressing on my salad. Cheese lovers will be spoilt for choice at their cheese counter. 
 Doubled Boiled Herbal Soup with Chicken Wanton and wolfberry
This is one of our favourite in the cooked section. The soup is really flavourful, while wanton is juicy, full of prawns and chicken. It is just like a giant siew mai, We can't get enough of this.

Braised glass noodle with picked cabbage and shredded duck
The glass noodles is thicker, unlike what we usually see. However, it is kind of bland, with no sign of shredded duck.

 Roasted pumpkin with sundried tomato & toasted pine nuts, caramelized onion with balsamic reduction, Buttered asparagus, Mashed potato
 Healthy Oven-baked Salmon with Teriyaki Sauce
Another of our must-eat. This salmon is oh-so-very fresh and light. The condiments and vegetables at the sides makes a perfect match with the fish, yet not overpowering it.

 Beijing Duck
The skin is crispy but the meat is not oily. You will have to do your own wrap with the egg crepe.
 Grass fed roast beef sirloin with pepper and mushroom ragout
 Lamb, Beef, Chicken Satay
This is another must-try with the pineapple sauce. This is the Chinese way of eating satay, which is a very rare sight now.
Golden fried prawn dumpling & Baked Char siew soh 
Golden fried prawn dumpling is crispy and good, while the char siew soh is quite forgettable as its filling is a tad too little.

Baked Citrus Cheesecake, Orange Chocolate Truffle, Sweet Mango Lasi in shooter
Chocolate Royal Hzelnut Crunch, White Chocolate Crisp
Chocolate Caramels Eclairs, Assorted Fruit Tartlet, Vanilla Créme Brulee
Peach & Dark Cheery Pound Cake (middle), Fruit Sakad with Berries (Jar)
"Croquembouche"  (Crunches in the mouth)
This is really a pleasent surprise. We were not sure what exactly this is, except that it looks like a cream puff with caramel threads on it. But the moment we bite into, baileys cream started oozing out of it. Heaven!
Exotic Fruits
Not many hotels serves such a wide variety of berries - blueberries, raspberries, blackberries. And not forgotting the strawberries were very big and sweet.
Red Velvet with Cream Cheese, Macaroons Selection, Chocolates Pralines & Truffles
Scones - A variety of Orange & Chocolate, Traditional Plain, Raisin, Gouda & Herbs Savoury
Quiche Lorraine, Chicken Curry Puffs, Sundried Tomato Quiche, Chicken & Mushroom Puff
I love scones and these are just decent, not overly fantastic but you can never go wrong by eating with the clotted cream. You will also be spoilt for choice with the variety of jams available.

Cinnamon Churros
Another pleasant surprise! These tasted like traditional donuts or You Tiao with sugar, as hubs prefers to call it. A must try with the Bailey's sauce.
Sandwiches Selection
A service staff will be walking around from time to time with a tray of sandwiches for your selection. We chose the chicken & mushroom and ham & cheese.
Warm Apple Crumble with Vanilla Rum Sauce (Square), Apricot Tart Tatin (Round)

The apple crumble was decent, while apricot tart tartin was a tad sweet for our taste-buds. What we missed most and was looking forward to, was their soufflé when we were here the previous year.

Did I mention the tea is unlimited? We can asked for a change of tea throughout the Afternoon Tea.
We had order 3 more pots of tea :-

Strawberry & Crisp (another of their Flavoured Fruits Infusions) - a delicious blend of ripe strawberries harmoniously combined with yogurt crisps. This is by far hub's favourite tea. Slightly sourish but it doesn't take away the sweetness of the strawberries. A must try if you are a strawberry lover.

Herbs & Ginger (Wellness Tea) - This Ayurvede tea has the powerful freshness that only ginger, lemongrass, liquorices and lemon verbena can give. This tea is either you like it or you don't. I personally love it as I love ginger tea. This is not overly spicy, so I feel it is still acceptable for those who do not dare to drink traditional ginger tea. Good for perky you up if you are feeling tired.

Morgentau® (Green Tea) - A fascinating tea composition with Sencha, flower petals and the subtle fruity flavour of mango and lemon. This tea is really light with a faint mango taste. Good for us, after eating so much.

Service wise, the staff were really attentive and prompt. One of them even took the initiative to help us take a family picture when he saw hubs taking pictures of me with LO.

Overall, we were satisfied with the offerings of the day, despite some hits and misses. In our opinion, the cooked dishes stands out more than the desserts. The Lobby Lounge is really a good, quiet place to unwind, even though it is situated near the main entrance.

Afternoon Delight @ Lobby Lounge
Two Temasek Boulevard, Singapore, 038982

Only available on Saturdays and Sundays
From 1:00pm to 5:00pm
$45++ per person
Reservations is advisable, pls call 6432-7483

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cheesy avocado oats

I love love love avocado because it is one of the superfoods -  a wonderful "good fat" food for a baby's brain and physical development. Yes! It is FULL of fats! Do not worry that it is too fatty because babies requires fat in their diet for proper growth and brain development.

I try to give avocado on a daily basis because LO starts to lose her baby fats as she grew taller.So I try to plump her up whenever possible.

1/2 ripe avocado
1 cube cream cheese (Kiri Brand)
2 scoops oats cereal
30ml fm

Melt the cheese and set aside
Mashed the avocado 
Add in the oats and fm and stir
Add in the cheese and stir
Ready to serve

I usually only cut the avocado into half without breaking the skin, so that I can keep the skin intact as a whole when I keep the other half of it.I then scoop out half of it to feed.
To store, I sealed in in a zip lock bag or airtight container and keep in it in the fridge's chiller department.
This way, the other half will remain fresh when LO eats it the next day.
Keeping it with the seed n covering it will prevent it from turning brown too fast.
Do select only the ones with blackish skin if you wanna eat on that day.Green is unripe.
If unfortunately your avocado is too ripe, try to eat within that day. Or you can keep in the fridge to delay it from rotting.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Lunch @ Tonkotsu King

Tried to lunch here yesterday but the queue was too long. Decided to head out earlier for lunch here today.

Discovery Channel Japan was here today to film this shop for their program “Japanese Soul Food – Ramen”.

We were already feeling hot & humid while waiting in line, yet have to ensure we were not accidentally “captured’ on their camera…so busy…haha!

Basically there are only 3 types of flavors to choose from. Original, Black Spicy, Red Spicy.
The unadventerous us decided to go for the original.

Spotted a banner for another branch under the same ramen group. While we were discussint eh different flavors they have, suddenly one of the guys who was with the TV team spoke to us and  told us it's at Bugis and we must try because it's good. Turned out he is the manager of this Bugis branch. Damn, should have ask him for membership card... -.-"

The freeflow hardboiled eggs and beansprouts

 Grinding the sesame seeds to add to the soup

 With seaweed
 Plain without additional toppings

And for those big eaters, you can add $2 for another helping of ramen to be added to your existing soupbase. Quite worth it IMO.

The damages
For the price, we felt it is quite worth it. Very satisfying meal. Realized this is under the same ramen group as Tori King @ 100am mall. We tried that before, wasn't impressed by it. We very much prefer Tonkotsu King. Maybe it is due to the different stock used - Tori King offered Chicken Leg soup base, while Tonkotsu King is pork-based.
Definately will be back again. :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Cheesy Mash Potato with Threadfin

Cooking for LO means a lot of homework and research to be done. Especially for a kitchen noob like me.Haha!

Today I decided to make her something different from the usual porridge dinner.

one teaspoon unsalted butter
diced threadfin
half potato
cream cheese (I use Kiri brand)
20ml fm milk

  1. Steam (approx. 15-20mins) potato til soft and mashed with fork/spoon
  2. Heatup saucepan and add in butter
  3. Add the threadfin until cooked (approx. 3-4mins)
  4. Pour in the milk while stirring
  5. Add in the cream cheese
  6. Add in the mashed potato
  7. Continue to stir for another 2-3mins
  8. Ready to serve

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Breakfast at Azur

Today hubs woke me up early in the morning and told me we are going out for breakfast. By early, I meant 6am on a public holiday!

Ok, groggily, I did woke up and I found myself at Changi Airport Terminal 3 - Crown Plaza Hotel.
Woo, so we're going for a hotel breakfast!

Ok, I really love hotels' breakfast because of the variety of western and local delights.

Azur have a really long counter and this is just one part of it. They serve western, chinese and even indian crusine!

We started off with the obligatory western delights and oh boy, it is really good!

Then, we moved on to the local delights.

They were also good, except for the soon kueh which we felt that the filling was too little, so we were basically eating more of its skin.

Look at this! There are so many juices & cereals to choose from!

Salads and pastries. Love the blueberry/custard Danish. It is really really good.

We ate for almost 2hours straight and boy was I really bursting at my seams.
But I could not leave without tucking into their fruits as the temptation was too great.
This was the reason I caved in - look at the variety!

At $33++, I would say this breakfast buffet is really worth every single cent. It is definitely one of the best hotels' breakfast I have eaten so far.
We will be back again!

Do you have any other breakfast buffets to recommend?

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Cafe Brios Sunday Tunch Buffet

Nope, I did not make a spelling error in my subject title. They really name it as Tunch, which I suppose it was because it was served from 12noon to 4pm, literally lunch cum high-tea.

This was not our first visit to Café Brios @ Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel and usually the food does not disappoint us.
Reservation is advisable as it is usually quite packed. The variety I would say is quite standard for all hotels' buffet - sashimi, salads, appetizers, main courses, desserts etc.

Mushroom soup with chicken & Bak Kut Teh
The mushroom honestly was quite good, but with the chicken pieces in it, it somehow does not blend. As for the bak kut teh, it is a tad too salty. I've had better ones.

 The sashimi was good and the serving per slice is quite generous, But why is it always only the salmon we get a big portion but the rest of the sashimi we get only a few slices? Especially the Ika, which we only have 3 miserable pieces.

 Some of the cooked food - tempura fish, pandan leaf chicken, custard bun, crystal bun, you tiao, glutinous food. They were not bad.

Their laksa comes with a slice of ngor hiang. Gravy was not bad for me.

Chilli crabs! This was our favourite dish amongst the cooked dishes. It was a little spicy but oh-so-delicious.

The prawns and mussels on ice

Nasi lemak station

The highlight of this buffet is their durian pudding. It is really good as it was really made of real durian flesh.

The cakes variety is quite decent, though I would not say there are a lot to choose from. However, they do have a good variety of local desserts, like nonya kuehs, muah chee, yam paste, tao suan.
And of course, ice cream too.

Service wise, this time round, we were not so impressed. Nope, it was not that the service staff was not good. I would say this time she was too over-zealous in clearing our plates. Many times after tending to LO, we turned back to our table and found our half-drunk tea being cleared away and also the empty plates that we lay on our table for sharing of food gone from its position. Then there was an incident where we took a while to manage to capture the attention of a service staff to ask for a highchair.

Overall, this place is still quite alright for its food.