Saturday, August 1, 2015

Recipe of the Month: Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup

I said I would be back with the Panera Bread Broccoli Cheddar Soup Copycat recipe and here it is! See....I keep my word, don't I? If you read my previous recipe post on Quick and Easy Bread Bowls, you will know what I am talking about. If not, then go read it right away so that I don't have to recap 

Soups are a labour of love. They usually take time and effort to make but in the end, the satisfaction of enjoying a hot, piquant bowl of goodness makes it worthwhile. As I've mentioned before, I am partial to creamy soups - chunky or smooth. To me, they are comforting, heartwarming and therapeutic. The best way to fulfill the appetite, nourish the soul and revive the spirit.

I have used plenty of delectable adjectives to describe this particular soup in my previous post so I won't go on about how luscious and creamy and cheesy and yummy it is (oops! there I go again!). This sure is a soup but it is no diet food believe me. It has butter, cream and a ton of cheese so it is pretty heavy. And if you decide to go ahead and serve it in the bread bowls, it does fill you up even more. I was gasping for air after I was done with my soup-filled bread bowl! This is so satiating that it is more than a main course in itself. If you are planning to serve this soup as an appetizer, go easy on the portion and you could probably skip the bread bowls for a later time when you decide to serve it as a main course.

I finally have a soup recipe on my blog and I'm so glad it is this one that made the debut. I will be on the hunt for more great soup recipes to join the club  



So, what are you waiting for? Go make this soup right away! You can thank me later! hahaha

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Restaurant review: Table by Rang Mahal, Singapore

Its been ages since I posted a restaurant review. The restaurant reviews on my blog garner a decent number of hits so it is something I need to feature more often! Unfortunately, we have drastically cut down on going out to restaurants choosing take-out or home delivery as more practical and convenient alternatives. I do sorely miss going out though....sob....sob 

We recently were invited to a family dinner at Table by Rang Mahal, a relatively new restaurant set in the heart of Singapore's Central Business District. My cousin’s family lives in Singapore so we take turns inviting each other home or sometimes we head out to enjoy a meal together. My uncle and aunt had come over to Singapore for a holiday so it was a great opportunity to catch up with them as well. Table is the modest and more casual cousin of Rang Mahal. Me and my husband have been to Rang Mahal before (we love it!) but not to Table. In fact, I hadn't even heard of it and was surprised when the name propped up in a conversation on choosing the restaurant. I did a quick check on google and it looked impressive (wasn't too crazy about the name though!). So after everyone was agreeable for the venue and time, a reservation was made for a Sunday evening. 

I was a little hesitant at first about taking my little ones. They do tend to get a little cranky as the evening progresses and one of my girls especially hates being strapped in the car seat. Lately, her most favourite thing to do in the world is to stand up (which she tries to do even in her sleep) so she shows contempt towards anything that prevents her from doing so! I didn't know how they would handle a double whammy! It took some reassuring from my husband to stop being a worry wart and take them along.  

Table is located in the state-of-the-art luxury boutique hotel Naumi. We couldn't locate the parking lot so ended up parking two blocks away. The Naumi hotel has a modern and sophisticated facade. The first thought that popped into my mind was - great place for a staycation!



On entering the hotel, the restaurant has been designed right at where the lobby is usually located. It is spacious with a contemporary and chic decor befitting the offshoot of Indian fine dining stalwart Rang Mahal. The interiors has an open dining room concept. Shades of white, amber and grey give the space an inviting look and the numerous gleaming mirrors adorning the walls amplify the light and make the space look larger.




The swanky bar counter



The food menu is not extensive but features most of the crowd-pleasers that you would expect at any Indian restaurant. There is an assortment of Chaats, Kulzaas, Kebabs, Curries, Rice, Indian bread and Desserts. Also, there is a mix of both vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes. The description of the dishes was quite lacklustre. I was thinking that I could do a way better job!

We ordered at least two portions of most of the dishes so there was enough to go around. Here is a line-up of the dishes that we ordered,

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A Few Of My Favourite Things (1)


I have been contemplating the inclusion of a new segment called 'A Few of My Favourite Things' on the blog for over a year now. I kept procrastinating all this while but finally decided it was time to set things in motion. 

So, what I do in this segment is list out five things that I have come across in Singapore that I truly love. It mostly will have to do with food (considering what a big foodie I am) but it may include other categories as well. This is going to be a continuing segment which I plan to feature every few months or so.

Singapore being a multicultural & multi-racial kaleidoscope is a food-lover's paradise. Home to a multitude of hawker centres, food courts, kopitiams, local bakeries, fine dining restaurants and more, there are no dearth of joints to be explored in this country with a voracious appetite! Singaporeans will willingly traverse the island in the quest for good food. As for me, even after living here for close to a decade, I haven't even scratched the surface but I still have a whole list of favourite things! Some of the dishes in this post may look familiar to you as I have already covered them in one of my restaurant reviews.

So, lets get the wheels turning, shall we?

Note that these listings are in no particular order of preference

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Baker's Corner: Quick and Easy Bread Bowls

I am all fired up about this recipe because it was one of those kitchen experiments that I thought would end in disaster but then unexpectedly turned out fabulous! I just love when that happens, don't you?  

I never thought I would make bread bowls at home....like never ever. Who does that anyway? Well clearly, this post indicates otherwise but it was never my intent in the first place. It all started when I was browsing through my recipe index and discovered that I'd never featured a soup on my blog. The horror! I am an ardent soup lover (always have been) and although I don't make soup regularly at home, I do order soup, first thing at any restaurant without fail. I mean, give me a nice big bowl of thick creamy soup and I wouldn't want anything else. That is my meal right there. I prefer cream-based soups over the clear kind (no surprises there!) with cream of mushroom soup topping the list for me. Note to self: the next soup on the blog has to be just that. 

Anyway, during the time I stayed in the US for two months, we used to frequent the popular cafe-restaurant chain Panera Bread. It was there that I tried their famed cheddar broccoli soup served in crusty bread bowls and fell in love with instantly. The luscious soup had chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce. Served within the crusty sourdough bread that was the perfect vehicle to soak up all that lovely hot soup....aah! it was heaven in a bite! The portion was ginormous but I would manage not only to gobble up all that soup but also demolish that insanely large bread bowl as well (and after that feel like a complete pig!). I probably had eaten broccoli soup before that (or maybe not I really don't remember) but never like the one I had at Panera Bread. That soup left such a lasting mark on my tastebuds that the next time I went to the US which was more than a year later, I made sure I stopped by Panera Bread to get my soup fix!

So, getting back to the point, I was browsing the internet for some tried and tested soup recipes to feature on my blog and I came across a 'Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup Copycat recipe'. That sure did pique my interest as you can imagine. I checked out the recipe and instinctively felt that it would be a winner. It was there that I saw the recipe for the bread bowls which looked fairly easy so I thought why not be all fancy and serve the soup in a homemade bread bowl rather than a plain old boring soup bowl. I'm so glad I decided to do that!

So, the reason I said that I thought the recipe would end in disaster was because my dough ended up being quite sticky even though I followed the instructions precisely. I didn't add in any extra flour.....I just greased my palms with olive oil and kneaded the dough like the recipe said while simultaneously saying a silent little prayer. The dough did rise which was very reassuring but I didn't manage to get the kind of smooth finish on the buns that was in the original source of the recipe. Well, never mind! The bread bowls turned out great anyway. They were crusty on the outside; soft and fluffy on the inside. They held the soup exceptionally well too.

I will be featuring the Panera Bread Cheddar Broccoli Soup Copycat recipe next on the blog so stay tuned. This is one hearty comfort meal that you have to treat your family to because it is just that good  


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Saturday, July 4, 2015

Recipe of the month: Lasooni Methi Paneer


I have a million errands to run today so I'm not going to ramble. Instead, I'm going to cut to the chase and tell you how I came about making this curry.

Me and a few of my cousins are part of a WhatsApp group called 'Masterchefs'. Pompous eh? Well, we figured, since no one else is going to bestow that title on us in the foreseeable future, we might as well do it ourselves! hehehe ☺ We are a bunch of ladies and (a few) men within my mum's side of the family who are passionate about cooking, who trade recipes, kitchen tips, culinary achievements/failures and basically everything food-related.

So one day, a recipe for this Lasooni Methi Paneer was given the thumbs up by one member of our group. I don't know if you have noticed but I already have a pretty good Methi Paneer recipe on my blog which happens to be my mum's version. I tried this one out anyway. Why you ask? (I'd tell you even if you didn't ask!) Three reasons - 1. Everyone got busy trying it out and posting their results to the effect that my curiosity got the better of me 2. I happened to have a bunch of fresh methi in the fridge at the time 3. The methi paneer on my blog consists of a delicate cashew and cream based gravy with the predominant flavour of methi as opposed to this curry which is a coconut milk-based gravy with the predominant flavour of garlic and subtle hints of methi. I figured both versions were kind of different from each other so no harm done checking it out.

I modified the recipe from the original source a wee bit since I felt the amount of garlic in the recipe was too much. Yeah I know the word  'lasooni' refers to garlic and believe me, I'm all for garlic but I was slightly worried that it would get too overpowering (and cause everyone in our building to run helter skelter!). I also added some sweetness to balance the flavour of the gravy. The outcome was pretty good and I would definitely be making this curry again. But a word of caution - if you aren't too big on garlic then stay away!

That's all you lot will be hearing from me today. Go on scoot...check out the recipe below  



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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Snapshots of my India trip 2015

It's been more than a month since I got back from India and I finally found made time to put down my thoughts on a wonderful holiday that was both eventful and fulfilling. 

This holiday was also uniquely memorable because it marked the maiden International trip for my little ones. The very idea of travelling with a child is something many new mothers find nerve-wracking so you can imagine my plight with two! You can probably tell if a woman is travelling with a child or not just by the look of sheer exhaustion and worry-lines etched on her face!

On the bright side, nowadays, with much better means of communication, far more comfortable modes of transport, advanced facilities and a newer generation of parents who do a lot of research beforehand and are prepared for any eventuality, travelling with a child (or children for that matter) isn't exactly rocket science. In our case, we did the required groundwork and preparation before the trip such as making a detailed list of all the items to be packed, completing the babies scheduled vaccinations, requesting for double bassinet seats on the International flight, doing online check-ins, booking domestic flights/taxis/hotel accommodation in India well in advance, getting cartons of diapers, wet wipes, tissues and baby bath essentials delivered to my parents and in-laws houses, getting their cribs ready in both houses, sourcing baby-friendly natural means of repelling mosquitos and so on. Looking back, it was considerable work but the effort paid off  

I am now much more confident of traveling with the kids and though I'm sure that they will have their bad days where I will regret that I ever left the house, I will take comfort in the fact that exposing them to new situations and people will help them learn more about the world and adapt quickly to unfamiliar situations.

So here is a write-up of our escapades in India....