Saturday, June 18, 2016

Baker's Corner: Cinnamon Apple Roses

So I believe these apple roses are a thing right now? Since the past few months, they have been popping up relentlessly on my Facebook wall, on Instagram, Pinterest and circulating in Whatsapp videos. The internet has been exploding with them. It was hard for me not to get sucked in and so here I am, finally joining the brigade!  

For the uninitiated, these are delicate rose-shaped pastries made with soft and delicious apple slices perfumed with cinnamon, wrapped in sweet, buttery and crispy puff pastry. Sounds amazing right? It is really not hard to understand the appeal of these bite-sized beauties 

Besides, I for one am game for anything with apples in them!

Before it comes to your attention, let me concede that my apple roses are FAR FAR from perfect. To get great looking roses, the apple slices have to be pretty thin. I don't have a mandoline (don't plan on owning one in the future) so I sliced the apples by hand. This may not sound like such a big deal but it kinda is. For this, you need to have a razor sharp knife and a patience reservoir full to the brim. Unfortunately for me, both were lacking on that particular day (bummer huh?). As I was assembling the roses, I realized that I didn't do a good job and the apple slices were thicker than desired. I almost didn't end up blogging this recipe but changed my mind when I tasted the pastries because taste-wise, the thickness didn't matter at all and they still tasted pretty darn good!

The apple roses in the original recipe that I followed looked gorgeous (even though the author called them 'ugly apple roses'). Mine could easily earn a place in the ugly category! Anyway, I'm not too much into long as my culinary creations taste nice, I'm content with it. 

Even though these apple roses look fancy and complicated, in reality, they are not. You need about six basic ingredients and about 1 hour of your time. That's it! Oh yeah and patience helps a great deal (look who's talking right?!)  *grins sheepishly*. Depending on your affinity to cinnamon, you can add as much of it as you like or skip it entirely. To me, the apple-cinnamon combination is a match made in culinary heaven so my version has incorporated it. But to each his own....

These beautiful and gourmet individual apple pastries can be made ahead of time and are perfect for entertaining. You would definitely wow your guests with these! 

Don't be intimidated by this recipe okay? I had so many things going against me that day (muggy weather, not-so-sharp knife, lack of patience, lack of time and distractions galore) but still I managed to produce decent-ish apple roses (which tasted much better than they looked may I emphasize). If I could pull it off, then anyone can! 

Give it a go, do an infinitely better job than me and prepare to dazzle!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Recipe of the month: Vegetarian Beehoon - A guest post for like a lavendeR

Did you see my last guest post on Pineapple Tarts? If you didn't, please go and check it out otherwise you may seem a bit lost with this post. What's that? You already did? are marvellous then! 

Jokes apart, I volunteered to do a two-part guest post for fellow blogger Reshma who blogs at 'like a lavendeR'. This offer was made to ease her burden of blogging while she is in the midst of relocating from Germany to India with her family. For anyone who has gone through the hassle of a big know what that's like, don't you? 

Since I live in Singapore, I thought that it would be a good idea to contribute dishes with a local flavour. And I wanted to be diverse so I selected a sweet and a savoury local dish. For today's guest post I have for you Vegetarian Beehoon, a savoury dish made with rice vermicelli. 

Beehoon is a humble local dish (Singapore and Malaysia) particularly popular during breakfast hours. Commonly referred to as ‘Economical Beehoon’, this dish can be truly economical with a few simple toppings like cabbage and egg, or it can be made quite luxurious with an assortment of gourmet ingredients. This is a simple, fuss-free and hearty dish that can be customized easily to one's palette. It represents comfort food in this part of the world.

Beehoon was my first tryst with local cuisine way back in 2008 so it will always hold a special place in my heart. My version is not authentic but it is the result of a lot of culinary experimentation that led to what I genuinely believe is a winning recipe (I'm so modest no?!). 

So without rambling further, here is a wonderful dish that you can prepare in the comfort of your home and feel like you have been transported to a hawker centre in Singapore! A satisfied tummy and teleportation at the same that sounds like a neat deal to me! If you agree, head on over to Reshma's space to check out the recipe with step-by-step pictures. 

Once again, thanks a bunch Reshma, for this opportunity. Here's wishing you and your family all the best and I look forward to more of your food, travel adventures and decor projects back on home turf.

Till next time!


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Restaurant review: Fatboy's The Burger Bar @ Holland Village, Singapore

Fatboy's The Burger Bar is a casual burger joint in Singapore that serves burgers, fries, sandwiches, hotdogs, beers, milkshakes and floats.

"Re-think your burger" is what inspired Singaporean brothers, Kennie and Bernie Tay to bring to Upper Thomson what they felt had been lacking in the comfort food market - a good old handmade and tasty hamburger. Since its flagship restaurant (located on Upper Thomson road) opened its doors to the Singapore public in 2009, Fatboy's has grown in leaps and bounds, running multiple outlets in Singapore, Malaysia and China. More outlets in Asia are said to be in the pipeline.

I was meeting my girlfriends after a really long time and after having stayed away from the dining scene for so long, I left them with the decision to choose the dinner venue. When the name Fatboy's came up in our discussion, I was interested since I wasn't aware of its existence until then (I know....I'm such a dodo bird!). We opted for the outlet at Holland Village since that was a convenient location for everyone. Despite it being a weekday, we decided to make a reservation since we were a large group.

P.S. - This was back in March. I got time to publish this review only now since I had a backlog of other posts!

When it comes to the interiors, nothing is as eye-catching as a black and white colour palette. This colour scheme lends itself to both vintage and contemporary interpretations, and makes a bold statement. The red accents that you see here and there adds bright pops of color. I'm not sure why the fat bald mascot is made to look so grumpy though! lol

You can immediately tell that the look of the restaurant is inspired by a retro American diner. It has a subtle rock 'n' roll vibe going on.

The medium-sized restaurant has a mix of old school benches and modern high tables to complete it's casual look.

The menu at Fatboy's is detailed and extensive so I suggest you take your time and give it a thorough inspection.

The best part about this restaurant's menu is that it features a build-your-own-burger section where you can choose how you want your burger. You can choose from a wide array of toppings, sauces, buns, & patties to create your very own gourmet burger. Apparently, with 25 toppings, 11 sauces, 4 types of buns and patties to experiment with, you can claim one of 4400 possible permutations.

Now that is something!


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Summer Special: Tropical Mango Vanilla Cupcakes

Make way for the king of fruits! The matchless, marvellous, magnificent MANGO is here!

Like the saying goes - better late than never! I had to feature a recipe with mango in it....I just HAD to. For starters, I love mangoes. There is something about this bright sweet juicy fruit that makes me go weak in the knees. Second, mangoes are seasonal, so for us people living in the tropics, there is a limited window of time where we can enjoy them at the peak of their flavour before the good ones start dwindling from grocery store shelves. Third, there is only one other recipe on my blog that features mango. Only ONE! I just had to fix that 

In India, different varieties of mangoes are available during summer but I have always been partial to the alphonso mango. It is widely considered to be among the most superior varieties of the fruit in terms of sweetness, richness and flavour. Unlike most other mangoes, alphonso mangoes have a rich, tender and creamy texture devoid of fibres, which makes it extremely easy to eat and dangerously addictive!

Every year, during mango season, me and my family would gorge on these luscious fruits. And it wasn't enough that we savoured the fruit in its raw natural form. In either a subtle or obvious way, mangoes would make its way into salads, chutneys, milkshakes/smoothies, juice, ice-cream, desserts and rasayana (a sweet accompaniment made with mango and coconut milk) be it at home, at restaurants or social gatherings.

One can never have enough of mangoes!

I had been hassling my husband to go to Little India in Singapore and buy some Indian mangoes. My little ones had never tasted them before and I was very keen to introduce it to them. Once I got my hands on a sizeable stash of alphonso mangoes, I was determined to keep aside one or two to whip up a mangolicious dessert. I almost didn't end up doing it because one of my girls demonstrated such an affinity to the fruit (the other one still cannot get over her banana craze) that I didn't think I could reserve a single one! But I did manage to sneak one away from her prying eyes and what you see in this post is the result of it!

This is a very good and super easy recipe. I tweaked the original recipe slightly and I now ostentatiously declare it is near perfect. I say 'near' because the buttercream is still a bit too sweet for my liking but I couldn't reduce the sweetness without compromising on the consistency. This comes under the category of American buttercream and therefore does tend to be sweeter than say an Italian meringue buttercream or Swiss meringue buttercream. That said, these vanilla cupcakes are rich, soft and moist. The gorgeous orange-hued buttercream tastes sweet and tangy, and is bursting with fragrant mango flavor. The mango I used in this recipe was ripe and sweet but it also had a teeny bit of tartness which actually worked really well to offset the intense sweetness of the buttercream.

I had made these cupcakes as a post-dinner treat while entertaining guests and they were unanimously well-received. I hardly have experience with cupcake decorating but I did the best I could. If you can improve on it, please do and give me some pointers too. Haha! I have a long way to go in the area of cake decorating but I'll (hopefully) get there someday! I wish I could have taken better photographs of the cupcakes but on that day, I was in such a tearing hurry to get most of the cooking done (in the midst of other chores and attending to my kids incessant needs) that I could spare hardly 5 minutes for it. That explains the insipid imagery in this post!

Anyway, my time-management and photography woes aside, do try these cupcakes especially if you are a mango-lover like me. It is the perfect way to celebrate summer in style!