Monday, January 12, 2009

Chocolate Fondant

This is an all time favourite for all chocolate lovers. It's not a dessert that you can find at any patisserie/restaurant sin Singapore, and yet it's extremely easy to prepare at home. The cost is proportional to the quality of the chocolate you use, but 100gr of good Lindt dark chocolate cost about 6 dollars (and that amount can serve 4 people).

Ingredients for 2 servings:
  • 50g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • 15g Flour
  • 2 Eggs (1 whole, 1 yolk)
  • 25g Sugar
  • Some cocoa powder

Melt the butter in a small skillet and mix the chocolate, broken down into small pieces. Keep stirring the chocolate until you obtain a smooth chocolate mix. Let it cool.
Put 1 whole egg and 1 yolk into a deep container and whisk them. Slowly incorporate sugar and flour and keep whisking until there are no lumps. Finally, add the melted chocolate and thoroughly mix together until the color is homogeneous.
Rub a small chunk of butter into the inside of 2 small metal cups making sure that they are completely covered, pour some cocoa powder into them and shake it making sure that they are thoroughly dusted. Pour the mixture into the cups and put them into an oven heated at 180C.
Let them cook for 10-11 minutes, remove from the oven and serve on a plate. Put the plate on top of the metal cup, turn upside down and pat on top of the cup before removing it.

You can top the fondants with whipped cream, or heat some cream with extra dark chocolate in the same skillet and pour it on top (as pictured).

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Eggs Benedict

What's more appetising than an Egg Benedict for a weekend breakfast. Not the healthiest start of the day perhaps, but definitely one that's gonna set a good mood for the day.
I made these following Gordon Ramsay's recipe, except I made smoked Salmon Eggs Benedict rather than bacon ones.
You can find his recipe here. The Hollandaise sauce recipe is here.

A few notes from my experience with this recipe:

  1. I made 4 Eggs Benedict with the amount of sauce indicated. Usually one portion is 2 eggs, so the recipe serves 2 people with 2 eggs. The amount of butter required for the sauce is 200ml. I find that rather scary, so I used 75ml of butter and 125ml of olive oil to reduce the amount of animal fats. Also, I didn't put the full amount of butter and oil mixture in the end.
  2. When you swirl the water with a whisk to poach the egg, swirl it very gently, don't create a powerful vortex which will mess up the egg. A gentle swirl will keep your egg nicely round.
  3. You can find English Muffins at most Cold Storage outlets.
  4. The hot water when making the Hollandaise sauce should be kept at a very moderate temperature (not boiling). Steam should be sufficient to generate the right amount of heat. If your sauce starts thickening, take it off the heat and if it's too thick add some of the boiling water.

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wahiro - New Year Osechi Lunch Set

I have reviewed this restaurant before, and surely I will do it again in the future. I regularly patronise this restaurant (the Katong Mall branch) as it remains one of my favourites for authenticity and value for money. Once again they delivered a gem of authentic Japanese cuisine for a very reasonable price. This is not the kind of thing any Japanese restaurant in Singapore would be able to put together, as it requires what I call passion for food culture.
This year Wahiro served a special Osechi Lunch and Dinner set. The lunch set was priced $35.00++.

After being served a wide and shallow red cup of cold home flavoured sake, the lunch started with a classic portion of sashimi: Tai, Maguro and Salmon. Tai and Salmon were extremely fresh.

Following the sashimi, the new year classic. It is a japanese tradition to have Mochi (rice cakes) for the new year. The clear yuzu flavoured soup included a selection of wonderful gems of Japanese cuisine such as yam balls and grilled mochi. This is the kind of Japanese soup that really makes me ecstatic for its sharp and clear flavour. Due to its simplicity, there's no room for mistake when making this soup and Wahiro serves one of the best. For those who never had a chance to try it, mochi in soup is a real delicacy, Crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy once you bite into it. Just take it easy and don't choke on it!

The main dish was a melange of Japanese ingredients prepared at their purest, Kaiseki style. Takenoko with katsuo bushi (bamboo shoots with dried bonito flakes), Gobo with vinegar (lotus root), Japanese omelette, Red beans, Ikura (salmon roe), Niboshi (dried fish), Salmon Kombu roll and more... The combination of delicate flavours gives you the opportunity to savour the intact aroma and texture of these seasonal ingredients like only Japanese cuisine can deliver. Out of all, the salmon kombu roll was definitely the highlight, together wih the Takenoko, which can also be tasted on its own on regular days as it's a resident dish at Wahiro.

The seasonal feast was followed by Tori Karaage (deep fried chicken), Miso Soup and Japanese rice. The karaage was not the regular one that's served in most restaurant. the picture should give you the idea of its crispiness, while the inside was moist and tender.

The meal ended with a slice of melon and one of orange.

For $35 per head, there is only one conclusion I can draw. I am looking forward to next year's celebration, hoping for another great deal such as this. Thanks again to Wahiro for bringing real flavours of Japan at really affordable prices.

Wahiro - Katong Mall branch

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