Monday, September 26, 2016

Dad's Birthday 2016

Never say die - a much needed motto for a person who loves baking and who seeks to improve the taste and texture of the banana cake! 

Birthdays of immediate family members mean a ready group of guinea pigs; an opportunity not to be missed and after playing with my new Sensonic Stand Mixer; ta-dah, a banana cake topped with slices of banana and crushed walnuts! 

Occasion; my dad's birthday! 

Here's a better picture of my dad with the two cheeky brats. Have i mentioned before that my dad is dark skinned and was often mistaken as a Thai national. How i wish i have inherited some of that genes since i am pretty fair and often have to resort to suntanning to improve my shade. 

The song began; i counted the number of versions and this time and thank god they kept to just English and Chinese. I think they would have loved to remove the Chinese version too but my dad is more a Mandarin speaker. 

Jovyn was pointing to herself because she asked if she can blow the candles; which, in her opinion, is the main objective of birthday cake! Of course we have to reject her unreasonable request although the grandfather was more than willing to allow her. 

They decided to blow the lighted candle together but as you can see from the above photograph, my father stayed at the back so that his grand kids can better enjoy the birthday "ritual".

Cutting the cake! I was more excited to taste the banana cake as i tweaked the recipe a bit (combined of two recipes i am currently using) and seriously hope it would turn out to be tasty! 

A kiss for the birthday boy! 

Verdict of the cake - could have been fluffier yet it was moist and honestly yummy! Points to note: buy bananas from the wet market next time and be mindful to slice the bananas even thinner next time so that they don't sink to the bottom!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sensonic Stand Mixer (with 4.2L Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl) from Giant Sembawang Road Show [Singapore]

There are many "toys" available for the baking addicts and aside from a decent oven, the one "dream" gadget for many would be a stand mixer; preferably one with a large mixing bowl and splash guard! 

The professional KitchenAid mixer was out of my reach given its usual price tag of S$699 and even a less reputable brand could easily set me back by about S$300. 

I was seriously thinking of waiting for my year-end performance bonus until i saw the Sensonic Stand Mixer at a Giant Hypermarket roadshow at Sembawang Shopping Centre yesterday! 

Couldn't wait to unravel the toy from its packaging! Although i have not heard of the Sensonic brand, the promotional pricing was too attractive and it met my "wants" listed in the first paragraph. p.s. shall share my receipt at the end of this post.

Key features; 4.2 liters stainless steel mixing bowl with splash guard, 8-speed setting and a 600W motor! For those interested to know if the mixer can fit on your kitchen top, the dimensions based on above picture are roughly 40 cm (length) x 29 cm (depth) x 35cm (height).

To give a review, i must at least try out the machine and i did so earlier this afternoon for what-else-but-banana-cake-again! To be fair, i can't compare with KitchenAid since i never have the chance to use one and no matter what, i am really an amateur baker wannabe.

However, i do have some experience using hand mixer and in comparison to a hand mixer, this was honestly a godsend; no more aching arms if i need the mixture to reach "ribbon" stage which can take about 15 minutes! The time saved in this case was used to sift the cake flour and washed up the bowls that held the ingredients now in the mixer. 

Best of all, the banana cake turned out well and really delicious (i tweaked the recipe a little bit)! I think i need to practice on my slicing though; the bananas were still sliced too thickly and some sank to the bottom of the cake. 

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Where I Got The Mixer
From the atrium road show (ending 02 October 2016) on level one of Sembawang Shopping Centre that's organised by Giant Hypermarket! 

Price
Usual was S$329 and i got mine for a jaw-dropping S$99.90

At close to a 70% discount, now you know why i die die must get it. Do keep in mind that this is an atrium sale that will end its run on 02 October 2016! Get yours fast before it runs out of stock! 

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Epic Nasi Ayam Penyet (Smashed Fried Chicken) from NurFir Nasi Ayam @ Yishun Block 732 KopiWu Coffee Shop [Singapore]

Alex and I were on our way to boring KFC at Chong Pang when we strolled past this coffee shop called Kopi Wu and i caught an enticing whiff of deep fried chicken! 

Source found in no time and since we were going to have chicken anyway, i figured it made better sense to try something new. Best of all, i had lugged along my DSLR! 

My order of Nasi Ayam Penyet which cost only S$3.50; in other comparable places, this would easily cost at least S$4.50! By the way, you can have options like normal chicken rice and Hainanese chicken rice from the same stall. 

Rice wasn't the typical plain white rice served for ayam penyet; it was pure good chicken rice without the usual oily sheen! Damn, i really cannot resist chicken rice's rice and that can only spell doom for my carbo-restricted diet! 

Do you have a problem with the chilli sauce from nasi ayam penyet? I do as they were either too hot or too sweet. The one here had no issue as it was specially concocted for that optimal balance; sufficiently sweetened yet spicy enough to have peals of sweat oozing from the pores on top of my head! 

If you give me just one word to describe my feeling after taking a bite, it will definitely be "shiok"! The deep fried (and tortured) chicken appeared dry because of that thin layer of crispiness. Once you tear it apart, the inside was an arena of happy juiciness! And the marination; that desirable turmeric flavour that almost forced me to order a second plate!

It's rare to find me cleaning up the ayam penyet and left only the bones but the chilli went so well with the slices of cucumber, tomato and pieces of lettuce and i am confident my tummy can accommodate a few smashed fried chicken! 

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Seeing that i was taking photographs, the stall owner asked on the purpose and upon knowing that i blog, he notified me that his lease wasn't renewed and his stall would be out at the end of the month! 

Sadness aside (as it was super near my house), i knew i had to find out where it would move to, by hook or by crook! The despairing news was that the owner had yet to find a stall to move to but the good news was that all updates would be posted on their facebook page (shall share it later)! :) 

Location
Block 732, Yishun Ring Road,
Corner Coffee Shop, Kopi Wu, 
Singapore 760732

Facebook Page

Menu
As above

Pricing
Nasi Ayam Penyet - S$3.50

Friday, September 23, 2016

Paradise Hotpot (品樂鍋) - Individual Hong Kong Style Steamboat @ Sengkang Compass One (the former Compass Point) [Singapore]

Beauty in the Pot had gained a strong following since its inception and i am surprised to hear that the Paradise Group didn't bank on its popularity and instead launched another steamboat concept known as Paradise Hotpot at Singapore's newest shopping mall; Compass One!

Not knowing what to expect since this was suggested as a venue to celebrate my mom's birthday, i stepped into the restaurant in with an open mind.

The shimmering display of many golden metal pots on the table caught my attention; although opulent looking, i wasn't keen in having individual pots as our family's definition of steamboat was to eat "together".

14 different soup bases might be a draw for those who prefer variety but even then, i still prefer a big singular pot divided into sections to accommodate a few types of soup. Just the tagline of "hong kong style" will also evoke interest since most Chinese are aware that the Cantonese boils the best soup!

Ordering was done via the tablet and the interface was quite similar to Hai Di Lao; hence, i find it quite easy to use. The only problem was that we had the tendency to over-order!

Now on the 14 soup bases (appended above) - they are teochew style, spicy szechuan, chicken with wild mushrooms, authentic pork bone, century egg with coriander, potato curry, tomato with sweet corn, ginseng chicken, cordyceps flower with mushrooms, satay, thick beef bone, korean kimchi, tomyum and kelp and bonito flakes.

Once ordering was completed, it's time to check out the condiment corner! The usual from what i can see including sesame sauce, garlic oil, sesame oil, Thai chilli sauce, fried garlic, garlic, chilli padi, spring onion, coriander etc. Are Guilin chilli sauce, red fermented beancurd and sha cha sauce considered as special?

I wouldn't know since i will stick to my usual; sesame sauce with coriander and a teaspoon of sugar. It would be perfect however if peanut sauce were included.

Our orders, delivered in one trolley!

Before then, it's necessary to light up the metal pots which posed another challenge; you can't adjust the heat at all! Nevertheless, the above arrangement was required as our family didn't like the selfish concept (despite being more hygienic) of having our own hotpot.

Furthermore, it's not required to have one hotpot for each person (we had six adults and two kids) and honestly, you can save quite a bit instead of having individual pots. Anyway, the soup bases we had were tomato with sweet corn, ginseng chicken, teochew style and satay.

Freshly sliced meat for shabu shabu!

More ingredients as above; fish paste, meat and spinach, dumplings, beancurd and meat, fried fish skin and fried beancurd skin. The latter tasted extremely marvellous once you soaked it in the soup. Note that the one at Hai Di Lao was much though.

Balls platter and cuttlefish paste! Frankly, i can walllop a lot of cuttlefish balls, fish balls, dace fish balls and mushroom balls; the only criterion was that they cannot be frozen which wasn't the case at Paradise Hotpot. Yum yum!

A filled table with a few others still placed on the trolley!

Now on the soup bases; normal with the exception of the rich ginseng chicken! Do keep in mind that the complimentary refill wasn't the original soup base; you have only the option of either 清汤 (light broth) or 高汤 (thick stock). Of course, you can also top up for a new serving of soup base.

Meat and ingredient wise, i had no complaint and was totally enjoying the many fresh "liao" dipped in the simmering ginseng chicken soup! My family's major grouch was on the soup refill but i did explain that the pricing was between S$3.50 and S$6.80 per pot, which would be considered cheap for restaurant standard!

A mango pudding for each of us to conclude the meal; normal tasting but i am not complaining as it came as a complimentary dessert by the restaurant!

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Location
1, Sengkang Square,
Compass One, #03-05,
Singapore 545078

Map
As above

Reservation
Call +6563864838

Operating Hours
Mondays to Fridays - 11.15am to 10.00pm 
Saturdays, Sundays & PH - 10.30am to 10.00pm 

Website

Pricing
As above, subject to GST and Service Charge

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