Saturday, August 12, 2017

Recipe of the month: Ricotta, Mushroom and Spinach Ravioli in a Tomato Cream Sauce

This has got to be the most elaborate and photo-heavy savoury recipe post on the blog so far! Phew! ๐Ÿ˜…

This has been a long time coming. Finally I can cross it off my culinary bucket list! Italian cuisine is a compendium of crowd-pleasing comfort food and like most of the world, it has enslaved my tastebuds for as long as I can remember. Pasta makes an appearance on our dinner table at least once or sometimes twice a week. If I am dining out, 70% chances are it will be an Italian restaurant. I experiment with different Italian dishes frequently and I don't see that changing any time soon! Recognizing my love affair with pasta, my husband bought me the pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid stand mixer ages ago and it had been sitting in the pantry unopened and gathering dust. Every time would I tell myself to open it and at least glance at the instruction manual but I would end up procrastinating. Not to mention, making fresh pasta at home had always seemed like such a daunting task that my hesitation was compounded by a sense of intimidation.

It so happened that one weekend, me and the husband were watching Master of None on Netflix. Anyone familiar with the series knows that Dev, the main protagonist, is a big foodie and completely obsessed with pasta. The inspiration to finally bring out the pasta attachment came after I watched the episode shot in Modena where he enrolls in a pasta-making course in a quaint little shop under the watchful eye of an Italian nonna. After that, there was no way I could put it off any longer!

Who says watching tv is bad when it motivates you to do something unprecedented and totally cool, right? ๐Ÿ˜

Turns out, making pasta from scratch isn't really difficult. It is time consuming, sure, but it really isn't that big a deal. The experience brought me to the realization of how different fresh pasta is compared to those mass-produced packets of dried pasta you buy at the grocery store. The silky-smooth texture, the tenderness and the ability for it to be the star of the dish is unparalleled. Not to forget, the cooking time which is drastically reduced. For delicate, creamy, dairy-based sauces, it is THE pasta you should use. So, now, if anyone asks me why I take the "trouble" of going through all that work, I think I need to make them this ravioli dish or else a fettuccine with an alfredo or carbonara to make them understand the difference! ๐Ÿ˜œ

I must also add that making pasta at home is quite addictive. The very first time I tried it, I was hooked! My intention was always to make ravioli which to my sheer luck turned out great on my pasta-making debut. With the scraps of the pasta dough, I decided to make fettuccine and was delighted when the kids relished it like none other! The first time I made them fettuccine in a pumpkin cream-based sauce which they polished off within minutes. After that I whipped up a basil-walnut pesto and that was devoured with equal gusto. Next on my agenda is spaghetti which I am sure the troops will enjoy!


I found a recipe for a ricotta spinach ravioli in a tomato cream sauce on the internet. I followed it and it was appreciated by everyone who tasted it. What I liked most about it was how well balanced the sauce turned out. I am not a fan of intensely tangy tomato sauces because it registers too sharp for my taste buds. On the other hand, overindulgent and creamy sauces tend to be heavy and gluggy at times. This one strikes a perfect balance between the two. I tweaked the original recipe a tiny bit and the result is what you see here. I like my ravioli to be smothered in a fair bit of sauce and so that is how I prepared and plated it. Delicate ravioli stuffed with homemade creamy ricotta, mushrooms and spinach and dunked in this mildly tangy and creamy sauce perfumed with basil is a posh, moreish and hearty dish that is bound to please your family and friends.

I have tried to make this recipe post as simple and easy to understand as possible. I took my time to make this dish, precisely jotting down measurements and taking a gazillion photos in the process. At the end of it, the kitchen was a colossal mess, my hair was in disarray, beads of sweat had started to form on my forehead, I was dusted and streaked in flour and there were bits of dough clinging to my clothes. Yet I was as happy as I could possibly be! Ravioli is a labour of love and so worth it ๐Ÿ˜Š

This happened to be the third time I made fresh pasta within a span of 3 months so I can say that I am reaping the culinary rewards on a pretty regular basis! I hope I have inspired you to do the same if you haven't yet. Be sure to let me know how it goes you guys ๐Ÿ™Œ

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Get Your Green On @ Lotus Kitchen, Singapore

[MEDIA INVITE]

So, judging by the type of restaurants I review on the blog, you must realize by now that a brand-new vegetarian restaurant in Singapore's dining scene will make me sit up and take notice. And all the more if it is a non-Indian restaurant! Not to diss my own culinary roots or anything but it is public knowledge that most Indian restaurants have no dearth of vegetarian options. However when you look outside the cuisine, the choices aren't always plentiful. 

Embracing vegetarianism, Lotus Kitchen is a spinoff of the famous Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant which is a leading Chinese vegetarian restaurant based out of Taiwan. Lotus Vegetarian is the brainchild of Ms Lee and boasts of delicious and hearty meat-free dishes prepared by a professional team of chefs. Much like a lotus flower that embodies love, purity and devotion, Lotus Vegetarian aims to uphold these qualities in their conviction. Greendot, another chain of fast-casual vegetarian F&B establishments in Singapore also comes under the same management. I had heard a lot about Lotus Vegetarian but had never been there so when I received a kind invitation for a food tasting at the sister establishment, I was more than happy to oblige! 

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen
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The 80-seater Lotus Kitchen brings to Singaporeans over 50 contemporary vegetarian cuisines from made-to-order dim sum to unique handmade noodles and stir-fried dishes. The menu at Lotus Kitchen comprises of signature dishes from its predecessor, as well as new creations by owner Ms Lee who has a penchant for mixing different herbs to create new aromatic blends as well as using homemade sauces and spices to whip up authentic local and Taiwanese vegetarian dishes. All dishes are made with natural premium ingredients known to boost constitution such as lion’s mane mushrooms, agaricus blazei mushroom, tian ma, cordyceps flower, burdock and sugarcane sprouts from Taiwan. 

Located in the bustling heart of Chinatown at Chinatown Point, Lotus Kitchen boasts of a prime and accessible location. Just step outside the Chinatown MRT from the New Bridge Road exit and you will literally fall into the lap of the restaurant!




First impressions: Spacious, bright, inviting and spick and span.

The restaurant showcases a modern minimalist interior design, and its cosy and relaxed ambience makes it an ideal space for foodies to celebrate the delights of the plant kingdom.


I loved this particular nook of the restaurant. It was more private, eye-catching and had a cheery vibe. I was pleased to note that we were dining there. 

Image Courtesy: Lotus Kitchen



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As I flipped through the menu, I was impressed by the variety the restaurant has to offer. There is something in there for everyone. Meat-lovers will not be disappointed I'm sure! 

I was privileged to enjoy an elaborate 10-course dinner and here are some of my thoughts on it,

Monday, July 24, 2017

A Typical Day in My Life as a Full-Time Working Twin Mom

So how this post came about is, I was lying in bed mindlessly watching tv and concurrently thinking about what I wanted to do for my next blog post. I didn't want to do anything related to cooking as I was bored of it and I couldn't do anything pertaining to new books, movies, travel or restaurants even if I wanted to since I didn't have any material. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do a post that was different to what is usually expected of me. How variety being the spice of life and all....

So, I just thought of doing a post chronicling my daily life as a full-time working twin mom. I am interested in expanding my blog into the parenting corner of the blogosphere and so far, I have only made a few feeble attempts in that direction. I like to read about how moms (especially of toddlers) go about their day so if anyone out there reading this is a busybody like me, chances are, you might just find this post interesting ๐Ÿ˜

I've said this before - I don't like the term "working mom". Exactly a year ago, I was at home juggling housework and caring for twin toddlers with no extra help and if anyone had asked me then why I wasn't "working", I would have felt like punching them in the face! I've used the irksome term in this article only because it is the most universally understood term for moms who are pursuing a career. Okay?

People often ask me how I manage to keep a blog running despite juggling work, two young kids and a household. Social media often has a way of making things look easy, perfect and effortless. In my case, I have help so, no, I most certainly don't do 'it all'. Come to think of it, I don't even want to do it all! 

I am not a particularly interesting person who leads a spontaneous exciting life. Far from it actually! My life is pretty much ordinary but it does happen to be the good kind of ordinary ๐Ÿ˜Š  My home isn't clean all the time, I don't cook fancy meals every night of the week, I do allow my kids to watch tv (and have sugar!), I don't always have everything under control etc etc but me and the husband have implemented a routine that works well for our family. 

I have tried to keep this post as transparent as possible giving you a peek into one typical weekday from sun up until sundown. There could be minor variations from day to day but for the most part, it is quite similar. 

So, here we go!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Baker's Corner: Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies


I am a self-confessed chronic lurker on Instagram. It is solely food that I stalk with an unshakable obsession. What else can I say folks - good old-fashioned food porn is what I seek! ๐Ÿ˜‚ For starter cooks, IG is a reservoir of basic and easy cooking videos and recipes and for the more experienced cooks, it is a great platform to get introduced to complex and luxe dishes using fancy ingredients. For me, most of the inspiration to try out new recipes comes from there.

So, one day, I saw these gorgeous Blackberry Cheesecake Brownies on the feed of The Kitchn and it was love at first sight! It appeared like a work of art and the colors and textures just made perfect sense to me. Brownies are always in huge demand in my home, I love cheesecake in any form and after raspberries, blackberries are my favourite kind of berry. So of course I was going to try this recipe!



I was up relatively early on a Saturday morning. I peeked into my kids room and was relieved to note that they were still sound asleep. I headed to the kitchen and got started on making these brownies. The recipe turned out to be undemanding and even at my own leisurely pace, I was done with making the blackberry puree, the brownie layer and the cheesecake layer by the time they started to stir. After that, they of course wanted to see what the fuss was in the kitchen and "help" me finish (what they described as) the "cake" ๐Ÿ˜„ I did the swirling of the blackberry puree over the cheesecake layer as my girls intently watched over me (with rather unhelpful inputs may I add) so I didn't do a very good job of it ๐Ÿ˜› Next time I'll take a better stab at it (literally speaking!). 

The brownies met my expectations in terms of taste. I felt like the chocolate brownie layer would be too intensely chocolatey for the kids but oh-no! They polished off one and then immediately demanded for another one. Since that day, they have been eager to finish their dinner so that they can eat a small piece of "byownie" for dessert ๐Ÿ˜‚  It is safe to say that they liked it very much indeed ๐Ÿ˜Š The husband didn't have any negative critique so I was glad to have tried this recipe out for myself.

If you are a fan of anything chocolate as well as cheesecake then this dessert will have to go on your to-do list right away. Go make folks!