Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Recipe - A bit of comforting Soup; for all that post Festive indulgence ;)

Well the festive season is in full swing now. We really hope all of you are having a great time with your friends, families and loved ones.

We've certainly had a lot of food and some days we're still pretty full but need to have something easy and light as a meal. So we've decided to share this really simple but satisfying Soup with our readers. Great as a light lunch or dinner; and you can make it all year round.

So without further delay; our own take on the Tomato and Egg Soup, which has a Chinese influence to it. 

The recipe is pretty simple:

Olive Oil
4 Tomatoes
2 lightly beaten Eggs
3-4 Cups of Water
Veg or Chicken Stock
3 teaspoons of Sugar
Salt and Pepper
Chopped Parsley
Other ingredients such as Tofu or Prawn; it's a matter of preference 

You'll notice that the last thing is other ingredients which shows the great versatility of this Soup. Some might like to put some meat like cooked diced Chicken or thinly sliced rare Beef. We've added Tofu Puffs and Prawn before to make it a bit more filling :)

First thing is to cut up the Tomatoes into wedges. Pick some Tomatoes that are acid free so they have a nice sweetness to them. Love the wonderful redness of fresh Tomatoes.


Add a bit of Olive Oil to a Pot and heat it up on medium heat. Once the Pot is hot enough, add in the Tomato wedges. Cook for about 2 minutes, gently stirring. The Tomatoes will start to release their juice. This is perfect as the juice adds to the flavour of the Soup. 

Add in the Sugar to help it caramelise a bit. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes, stirring to encourage the Tomatoes to break down a bit more.


Next; add the Water, and the powder Stock as desired to flavour.  Stir and then put the heat on heat to bring the Soup to the boil. As you can see, the Soup is a beautiful red/orange from the Tomatoes. 


Once it is boiling; turn it back down to low, add Salt and Pepper to taste. 

If desired, stir in a bit more Sugar to bring out the flavours a bit more. 

Last thing is to add in the beaten Eggs. A good thing to use is a Fork. Slowly pour in a steady stream of Egg, circling around the pot. Behind the stream of Egg, use the Fork to make slow stirs. Don't stir too fast as you don't want the Egg to break up too much. Add in all of the Egg. 


30 seconds later; add in the desired Ingredients. We've used some cut up Tofu Puffs and fresh Prawns before. Stir these ingredients through.
  

Let the Soup simmer for another 2 minutes, turn off the heat, sprinkle some chopped Parsley on top and it's ready to serve! 


Here are the 2 versions we've made before; the Tofu one and the Prawn one. The Egg in the Prawn one turned out better as we stirred the Egg in  a lot slower. The Tofu one the Egg is a bit too fine due to stirring too fast. Down to preference really :) 

Here is the Tofu one.


And the Prawn one. Remember Prawns don't need to be cooked long otherwise they go a bit rubbery. The Egg in the Prawn version turned out more like scrambled Eggs and we actually prefer it this way.


Give this simple Soup recipe a try. It is great for versatility of ingredients and is a wonderfully clean, clear Soup with the sweetness of a Tomatoes.

Try it out and let us know how you go! What extra ingredients did you/would you add?

Cheers 

Auspicious Banana
@SGVekNZ
(For Expat Kiwis)


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Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The White Rabbit Christmas Treat >'.'<

With Christmas just around the corner; and we had cleverly decided to take a Friday off, the email from The White Rabbit was very timely indeed. 

A day off deserves a bit of a lunch treat so the Christmas Menu from The White Rabbit was really tempting. So tempting in fact, that it had to be done. A booking was made and we eagerly waited for the day to come. Making a booking was painless; a simple SMS, a reply and it was locked in. 

For those that don't know The White Rabbit, it is a restaurant which is housed in a beautifully restored Chapel located in the Dempsey Hill area. Back in the 1950s, Dempsey Hill was home to the garrisons of the British Army. The Chapel served as a place of worship for the garrison. 

It's quite exciting to have a meal there. When we arrived we marvelled at the restoration, the history and untold stories that surrounded us; from the stained glass to the ancient doorways. The interior was nicely decorated and felt clean, organised and pure. The minimalist concept was in full swing here, giving it a modern non-cluttered chic.

We took the time to look around whilst we nibbled on some warm Bread.


Excuse the over the Shoulder shot :)


We decided to have the 3 course Christmas lunch menu and some Red Wine to accompany it. The decisions were made and we sat back, relaxed and waited for our Appetisers.

The first Appetiser was the House Cured Duck Breast with Baby Endives, Treviso Radicchio, candied Walnuts and Oranges. 

The Duck Breast was nicely cured with a slight smokiness to it. The Endives and Treviso Radicchio had their characteristic bitter taste whilst the candied Walnuts and Oranges added the sweetness to the dish. In isolation; each ingredient wasn't too special on its own but when combined into one mouthful on the Fork, the flavours melded well together creating a smokey, bitter sweet taste sensation for the taste buds. It was similar to a dark Chocolate scenario, but in a savoury context. The dish had been very well thought out and designed to be a perfect partnership. The freshness of the ingredients played a big role, with the rougher meat texture of the Duck adding a bit more character to the crispiness of the vegetables, the crunch of the Walnuts and the soft sweetness of the Oranges. The colour combination was great too from the dark Purple to the bright Orange. This was a very good start to our meal.


The second Appetiser was the Foie Gras Parfait with Fried Potatoes and pickled Vegetables. 

When this arrived, it amused me a lot. It looked like Potato Chips had been stuck into my Parfait. 

The Foie Gras Parfait was smooth, light, creamy and just like a perfectly made Mousse. It was enjoyable to spread it onto a Potato Chip to eat rather than the usual Bread. I wish I had more Chips though. 

The Vegetables were pickled nicely, not too overwhelming that it made you pull faces :) They also went well with the Parfait. It was also good to get a variety of pickled Vegetables; not just the usual Carrots or Radishes. It was great being able to experiment a bit with the Parfait and how it tasted with the Pickle, Onion or Parsnip. 


Both Appetisers set the stage really nicely for the Main course. Speaking of which; onwards to our Mains.

The first Main was the Mushroom and Truffle Ravioli, with Savoy Cabbage and Shitake Miso Broth. 

The Ravioli Pasta parcels were well cooked and al dente to the bite. The filling of chopped up Mushrooms was very fragrant with the smell and taste of Truffle. We did wish that there was more of the tasty Ravioli in the dish though as it felt more like an Appetiser. 

There was a generous serving of Shitake Mushrooms and Savoy Cabbage on top of the Ravioli and it was all surrounded by the delicious subtle taste of the Miso Broth. The Broth was hearty and thick so that it clung to the Ravioli.


Our second Main was the 365 day Grain-fed U.S Beef Bolar Blade. This was served with a Jus made with Madeira, Buttermilk puréed Potatoes, sautéed Chard, Mushrooms and Truffle. 

This was a very generous serve of Bolar Blade that appears to have been pot roasted. It was amazingly tender and retained a lot of moisture with a pleasing hint of pink. The Blade had also been seared before being pot roasted to seal in the flavour. The Jus was made by adding the Madeira and is great for dipping the Beef into for some extra flavour. This was melt in your mouth stuff. 
The puréed Potato was wonderfully smooth and the combination of sautéed Chard, Mushrooms and Truffle made an aromatic side for the dish.


Now a meal; especially on one's Friday off, isn't complete without Dessert. There is always room for Dessert :)

The decisions were the Soufflé and the Pudding. 

The Soufflé was a Chestnut one served with Vanilla Ice Cream. 

When the Soufflé arrived, you could tell that it was soft and fluffy. Whole Chestnuts were nestled in the middle of the Soufflé goodness. The Soufflé wasn't too sweet and the Ice Cream was a nice cooling sensation on the taste buds against the warmth of the Soufflé. This was comfort food. 


The Pudding was a Prune one served with Cheese Sorbet, Roasted Pear and Madagascar Vanilla. 

The Prune Pudding was the highlight here; soft, moist and served warm so that steam rose up with every spoonful. The Prunes had a nice sweetness to bring out that Dessert feeling and went well with the Vanilla. The Pears were okay.


And so a great lunch came to an end and was rounded off with a Flat White and Cappuccino. The Coffee isn't too bad at The White Rabbit too.

 All in all it was a fantastic way to spend a Friday off. 

The White Rabbit Christmas menu is a real treat in really nice surroundings. It is popular as there is quite a crowd for lunch. One thing to note is that it is a Chapel so has a really high ceiling. If it is a rainy day, a light Jacket or Cardigan is ideal as it can get a bit cold in the Restaurant. 

The White Rabbit Christmas menu is available until the 31st of December 2014; weekdays only, except on the 25th. 

We opted for 3 courses at $48++ per person. There is also 4 courses at $55++ and this includes their signature Soup of Chestnut Velouté, Duck Confit and pickled Celeriac. As you can see below; there are a few choices to be made for each of your courses.


If you still haven't made any plans over the Christmas period, check out The White Rabbit. They have great menus over the holiday period including a buffet.

We are definitely looking forward to trying their regular menu at some stage too. 

Their location is:

39C Harding Road
Singapore 249541
Phone or SMS: +65 9721 0536
(Note - Closed on Mondays) 

Have you tried The White Rabbit yet? What are your plans for Christmas?

Cheers, and Merry Christmas!

The Expat Kiwis


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Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Meeting Mario Batali at Osteria Mozza - Marina Bay Sands Singapore

Thanks to Marina Bay Sands in Singapore; I recently had a chance to meet and chat with Chef Mario Batali! 

This was most exciting and I was already thinking about some quick fire questions as I made my way to his restaurant; Osteria Mozza, in Marina Bay Sands.

For those of you who aren't sure who Mario Batali is; you might've seen the TV show Iron Chef America, where he makes appearances. He also has his signature look that consists of Shorts and Orange coloured Crocs. Along with his classical culinary training, Chef Mario is an expert in Italian cuisine and has restaurants in New York, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Singapore, Hong Kong and Westport. 

When I arrived; the staff were really nice and said as I was a bit early, I could sit at the bar with a drink and wait. This was great as I could see the other Chefs in action. The smell of the Pizzas were very alluring! The Roasted Vine Tomatoes I had in front of me; as you'll see in the picture below, were really hard to resist as well. They were so fresh!



Pretty soon though; we were whisked into a private dining area, and given a glass of Prosecco. This was fantastic; no complaints from me ;) We were also given a copy of Chef Mario's latest book so this was a very good opportunity to get a signed copy of it too. The plan was coming together. 

After a few sips of Prosecco; Chef Mario arrived! The group of us were most amused that he did indeed stay true to form and had on his Shorts and Orange Crocs :)


With a big smile on his face he proclaimed "Who wants their book signed?" I didn't have to be asked twice :)



Chef Mario was very happy to share stories and his passion for cooking. 


He was very fond of getting good Singapore food around the Geylang area and sitting on the plastic stools at the Hawkers whilst eating his Chilli Crab. He also gets recognised by people and this is becoming more frequent in Singapore.

He finds that Singapore food can still be very innovative and mentioned that he loves Durian Sambal. The group of us were surprised; Durian Sambal, there is really such a thing?

Chef Mario was just as surprised; "You've got to try it." At which point he promptly disappeared and came back with spoons and a plastic container. What a surprise when inside was Durian Sambal. The Durian smell was quite distinctive. The group gathered around for a sniff and then a cautious tasting. 

It was actually really nice and the heat from the Chilli complemented the richness of the Durian very well and maybe even suppressed the Durian smell a bit. The things we learn!


As I said; I had a few quick fire questions for Chef :)

My first question was: Carbonara; with Cream, right or wrong?

There was a stunned look on Chef's face and a shocked gasp from the group.


The obvious answer is wrong! Cream just isn't needed and isn't authentic as the richness of a sauce can be achieved with Eggs and Parmigiano-Reggiano. At his restaurants, Chef Mario never uses Cream in any of his Pasta dishes. Thumbs up here!

My second question: Pineapple on Pizza; right or wrong?

This one actually got Chef thinking a bit. He admits that it isn't authentic but has really fond memories of the Hawaiian Delight Pizza at Shakey's. Sounds like Chef isn't adverse to some Pineapple on Pizza from time to time ;) 

In fact; at Osteria Mozza, their Pizza al Benno has Speck, Pineapple, Jalapeño, Mozzarella and Tomato. Chef Mario generously decided that we must taste that too; and asked for some Pizza al Benno to be prepared! 

When it made its appearance, the Pizza al Benno was amazing. The crust and base was perfectly crispy; signs of a Pizza Oven that is at a perfect temperature, and the ingredients were super fresh. The Speck had wonderful fat through it and cured with a wonderful saltiness. The Pineapple was also fresh, not from a tin. It had been sliced fresh from the actual fruit. It was a real treat.


  
It was a fantastic afternoon of Prosecco, Books, Pizza and a chance to chat with Chef Mario Batali. 

A big thank you to the team at Marina Bay Sands for the opportunity and the Osteria Mozza team for their hospitality. 

Can't wait to visit Osteria Mozza again :)

Anyone out there who is also a fan of Chef Mario Batali?

Cheers!

Auspicious Banana
@SGVekNZ
(For Expat Kiwis) 


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Monday, 22 December 2014

Christmas 2014 menu tasting at the Roundhouse

The friendly crew at the Roundhouse invited us to a tasting of their Christmas menu recently. It wasn't what you'd expect in a typical Christmas menu; we usually think Turkey and Fruit Mince Pies, but the Roundhouse crew looks like they're happy to experiment a bit. We like it when people think outside the square and try something new.

So we arranged a time and were off!

If you decide to visit Roundhouse, do tell the Taxi driver to head towards Horsecity at 100 Turf Club Road. There is a statue of a Horse close to the entry gate to mark the spot. Our Taxi driver got a bit lost so if you end up at the Grandstand shopping mall, you've gone too far. So remember; Horsecity; and as soon as you enter via the gate/gantry, Roundhouse is to your immediate right.

As it was a rainy night; we opted to sit inside. The interior was decked out with dark wood colours and the ceiling had rafters that gave it a rustic feel. The huge bar took up the center area and we were pleased to see London Pride as one of the draft Beers. We'll have one of those please!


The first thing that occurred to us was that Roundhouse had a lot of great space at their disposal. You could easily fit a large crowd or hold a function here. It has good indoor/outdoor flow and we were told you can fit around 250 people at the venue. Something to note if you're looking for a good catering or function space.






Whilst we were waiting for the tasting to start, our host for the evening had a chat with us. All of the staff at Roundhouse were extremely nice and friendly. Quick with a smile or a little joke. We liked this a lot as it wasn't pretentious or uptight. It helps us to relax when the staff are approachable and there to offer good service. 

It was then time to start the tasting. The first dish was the Sweet Red Chilli Lobster Remoulade Roll. This was served with a side of Salad and Fries.

The Lobster was done nicely and didn't have that overcooked rubbery texture to it. The meat had a nice sweetness to it and was firm to the bite, that kind of "crispiness" when the produce is fresh. We were told that these were Canadian Lobsters. 

The Remoulade sauce was creamy and was quite mild; we were expecting more of the sweet chilli hit with it, we do love a bit of spice. The Remoulade wasn't too chilled as well; it was at a nice room temperature, so you didn't end up eating something that felt like it was straight out of the fridge. It was tasty and went well with the Lobster.

The Fries were piping hot and the Salad with a simple dressing rounded it off nicely. 




For the next round; we had the Roasted Spring Chicken, with Sage stuffing, served with baked Rosemary Potatoes and crispy Bacon. 

The Chicken is from France and was very juicy. When you cut into it, the cooked juices would flow out and cover the Rosemary Potatoes. The Potatoes were nice and crispy and the Bacon was super nice; you just can't argue against Bacon. 

The Sage stuffing was a highlight. It was able to soak in a lot of the moisture from the roasting process as well so it captured a lot of the flavour from the Chicken. It certainly helped that the Sage Stuffing was stuffed under the Chicken skin; this was a surprise as it wasn't stuffed the traditional way. This was awesome. 

And if the Chicken wasn't juicy enough; there was a serving of Chicken Jus on the side to fulfill your gravy fantasies.



Our final course was Dessert. There is always room for Dessert! When we saw the Winter Log Cake, we knew it was Christmas time. It was the most festive looking dish of the night with the very distinctive Christmas Colours. The Winter Log Cake is a White Chocolate Yogurt and Raspberry Semifreddo with Red Berries Financier and Raspberry Coulis. 

The Semifreddo was amazingly good, a very soft fluffy texture and not too sweet. It was like a fine indulgent Mousse. The Raspberry center made it a bit more tangy to round off the taste combination and the combination of the yogurt gave a hint of sourness to it. Love at first bite scenario here.

The glaze on the Log was amazing too and helped to hold it together. It was like a thin layer of Sugar Syrup. 

The Financier was crumbed and used as a base for the Log.

The Raspberry Sorbet rounded off the Dessert by adding a bit more "tanginess" to the subtle sweetness of the White Chocolate in the Winter Log. 

We thought that the Dessert was a perfect way of rounding off the meal.



The rest of the evening we spent chilling out with a few more drinks and talking to Chef Miguel. We talked about the dishes he created for the Christmas menu and of course, where to get wonderful food around Singapore. What else would you talk about with a Chef? :) We also had a good conversation about Tapas as he is from Spain and it was great sharing great eating spots around Singapore. We swapped info on a few places. 

He shared with us some exciting plans that were being drawn up; due to happen at Roundhouse in the upcoming new year, apparently a new look is on the cards for the restaurant and Chef Miguel will be designing a new menu to mark the transformation. It'll be great to see how the plans have come together when we pay a visit next year.

Roundhouse is a place with a very friendly team who are always smiling and happy to have a chat with their customers. Chef Miguel is quite new; only about 2 months, so brings along big plans for the future and some of his talents show through in the Christmas menu which we tasted. The flavours are definitely there and the food is good at Roundhouse. It is simple and tasty and doesn't try to be something it isn't. Given how Chef is new, we're looking forward to seeing what other magic he can work in the kitchen and if more unique creations will start appearing on the menu. 

The Christmas menu is available from now until the 28th of December. If you like what you see; go ahead and check it out.

Roundhouse Pizza, Bar and Grill can be found at:
100 Turf Club Road
Singapore 287992
Phone: 6466 0966

Opening Hours:
Tues to Thurs: 6pm to 11pm
Friday: 5pm to 11pm
Weekends : 9am to 4pm, 6pm to 11pm
Closed on Mondays 
 
What are your Christmas plans Readers? :)

Cheers!
Expat Kiwis


This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of Expat Kiwis. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise. 

Thank you to Roundhouse for the kind invitation!


Friday, 19 December 2014

* CLOSED* Syok Hostel - Flashpacker Hostel in Penang

Syok (pronounced 'Syiok') Hostel is a backpacker lodge located on the corner of Chulia Street in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Georgetown, Penang. This hostel can accommodate up to 66 people.

I did some research before arriving, and was a little anxious when making a booking here, as I tend to categorise 'budget accommodation' with little or no service and a less than clean environment. But I was proved wrong! 

I stayed in a double-room for the first night (priced from MYR110 per night). It had a queen sized bed, a desk, a mirror and a coat stand (not pictured) and was very clean. The room is very narrow with not enough space to walk around. A MYR50 deposit is required upon check-in for the use of the towels and is refunded to you when you return the towels upon check-out.


This hostel has a mixture of mixed dorms and female dorms (priced from MYR58 per night). The mixed dorms come with 8 bunk beds, each with their own power sockets, bedsheets and pillows. Each bed also comes with a locker with a padlock which you can store your luggage. A MYR50 deposit is required upon check-in for the use of a thin blanket and towel, and is refunded to you when you return the towels upon check-out.



The picture below shows the toilet and the shower facilities available to the mixed dorms. Syok provides 3 in 1 shampoo / conditioner / shower gel and hairdryers.


For the Ladies that want a bit of privacy or who feel uncomfortable sleeping in a mixed dorms, Syok Hostel offers 2 Ladies Dorms, a 6 bed and an 8 bed. The beds also come with each with their own power sockets, bedsheets and pillows. Each bed comes with a locker with a padlock which you can store your luggage. A MYR50 deposit is required upon check-in for the use of a thin blanket and towel, and is refunded to you when you return the towels upon check-out.

There is door that divides the mixed dorms from the female dorms and is usually shut most of the time.


The female dorms have a 'ladies only' shower and toilet facilities. Syok provides 3 in 1 shampoo / conditioner / shower gel and hairdryers.


And in case you've forgotten anything, they do have items that you can purchase.

Price correct as at 11 December 2014.
Syok offers a great lounge with comfy colourful beanbags, couches and a Foosball table for guests to use, and guests can interact with each other making the experience at Syok more fun.


The Hostel also offers free tea and coffee making facilities. Breakfast is also available every morning.


There is a Confessions Wall in the common bathroom area for guests can write and hang their confession on.


The 'Before I Die …» wall in the lounge allows guests to write thoughts and impressions about their life and experiences.


Syiok means a cool or fun place, and this hostel didn't disappoint.


EMAIL reservations.syok@staysyok.com with Promo code - MigupSyok-EK to book and receive:
  1. 3 days 2 nights Stay (in a dorm room), with breakfast - RM 140 nett per person.
  2. Complimentary for guests - 1 day (8 hours) bicycle rental

Booking Period - from now till 15th Feb 2015
Stay Period - 1st March 2015 to 30th June 2015



SYOK Hostel is located at:
458 Chulia Street
Georgetown, Penang 10200
Malaysia
Ph: +604 – 263 2663



This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of Expat Kiwis. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise. 

Thank you to mig.me, Syok Hostel, Pan Island Holidays  and Patie Tan for the kind invitation. It was a pleasure you guys were very welcoming. Love the hospitality and friendly smiles too!


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