Wesnese

Simpang Bedok is one of my favourite makan hangouts simply because its near to home and has a large variety of cuisines to whet your appetite. On one particular afternoon, I paid tribute to this diversity by having both Western and Chinese food. What better place to do this than the Tang Tea House Hongkong Cafe?

Lunch began with a smattering of dumplings like the one below here.

I highly recommend the piping hot steamed dumplings with chilli crab. One bite and the juice oozes out non-stop! The crab filling is moist and leaves you wanting for more. I could also go and on about the other dishes I had that day – like siew mai, har kow, chicken pau and the steamed rice roll.. but you get the idea.

Now moving on. Much has been said about the awesomeness of Botak Jones and its affordable Western fare served in coffee shops. Now Muslims can check out the fuss at its Halal-certified outlets – Botak’s Favorites, one of which is located at the Cafe itself. What else would I order there except for the signature Botak Burger?

The patty is done well and chockful of meaty goodness. It was tender and not too overwhelming, with good marination. The size was just right and satiated my already half-full tummy. Minus points though for the staff forgetting our order of the baked cheese! Despite us being the only few customers!

Do try out their new range of Botak Mini Monsters too, at about $4+ per burger.

I believe this was the Mini sambal cheese!

Will definitely chart my food adventures at Simpang. There’s still lots of places to haunt.. I’m leaving you a photo of my towering chocolate cake at Mad Jack’s (Simpang’s off course).

xoxo,
miss 241
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Jakarta Baking Stores

While looking for a comprehensive listing of baking stores/classes in Jakarta online, I realized there was a serious dearth of available information. My search felt all too much like finding a ‘needle in a haystack’ to use a very-overused phrase. So I’ve compiled my findings in this post along with opinions, and will definitely add to it when/if I find out any more.

Bluebell (for classes & baking supplies)
A great store with loads of available baking supplies (mostly Wilton). You can find most of what you would need over here, though the prices tend to be a bit steep (most things are imported). They also have some great one-day classes (though again the prices are a bit high for the classes), and if there is enough interest, they sometimes offer the ‘PME Professional Diploma Course’.
Jl. Kelapa Nias Raya (Jl Pelepah Elok I)
Kompleks Ruko Blok GN-1 No. 35
Kelapa Gading Permai, Jakarta 14250
Tel: 021 4517082 / 4517083

Toko Ani (for baking supplies & classes)
A wonderful place to get baking supplies; it’s affiliated with Bluebell above, and they share a common class schedule. Both stores have a good variety of (mostly imported) baking supplies and also some interesting classes.

Jl. Gunung Sahari I No. 5, Jakarta 10610
Phone. 021 421 1286 – 425 3109 – 389 04460
Fax. 021 421 1284

Wilton Cake Decorating (for baking supplies)
Have not visited this store, so not able to provide comment. Will update if/when I do.
Jl.K.H Hasyim Ashari No.3F Telp ( 021 ) 63866071 Fax 63866072 Jak-Pus
Jl. Pembangunan II No.10B Telp ( 021 ) 6335605, 6332386 Jak-Pus
Jl. R.S Fatmawati No.8 blok A Telp ( 021 ) 7200239, 7246858 Jak-Sel

Natural Cooking Club (for classes)
This place offers loads of classes, at three locations in Jakarta. Visit their website for more information about class availability/timings. The place is a bit difficult to find, but they have a great availability of classes & the class prices are very affordable.
Jl. Matraman Dalam 3 no. 11 Rt 09/07
Jakarta Pusat
Telp. 021-3921779

Toko Bahan Kue TITAN (for classes & baking supplies)
A wonderful store with loads of availability of great equipment. A lot of their selection is local, so the prices are decent. Plus they have these great affordably priced classes held by the Bogasari Baking Center — mostly for local Indonesian delicacies including cakes/cookies/pastries/breads etc. They’ve a website, but it’s not that updated; you can get a course schedule from one of their stores (though I believe most of the classes are held at the Fatmawati branch). Hoping to join one of their courses soon & will update once I do.
Jl. Fatmawati 22A – Jakarta Selatan
Telp. 021-7692329
Fax. 021-7668137

Kelapa Gading Square B17
Mall of Indonesia
Kelapa Gading
Jakarta Utara 14340
Tel. 021 – 4586 9850

Toko Loyang (for courses & baking supplies)
This store has a wonderful selection of baking supplies (mostly local), and also a small bakery. As part of the NCC I mentioned above, they offer a good range of classes every month. Their classes listing is pretty updated on the website. This is also where I learnt the cupcake decoration I blogged about earlier.
Jl. Wolter Monginsidi No. 38 a-b
Kebayoran Baru – Jakarta Selatan
Tel:  021 725 5656, 021 725 5757
Fax : 021 725 5757

Jakarta Culinary Center (for classes)
This is a comprehensive school for baking/cooking, which a variety of programs ranging from one month to 6 months to one year. Definitely worth a look for people who are really serious for getting into the restaurant/bakery business!
Jakarta Culinary Center – Senayan
Ruko Permata Senayan Blk A / 29
Jl. Tentara Pelajar, Patal Senayan 
Jakarta 12210
Telp. : (021) 5794 0650 / 51
Fax : (021) 5794 0650 / 52

Jakarta Culinary Center – Sona Topas Tower
Jl. Jendral Sudirman Kav.26
Jakarta Selatan 12920
Telp : 250 6468
Fax : 250 6468

Ranch Market (supermarket/bakery)
Well I’m certain Ranch Market really needs no introduction! But did you know they also provide a range of baking/cooking classes that are constantly changing every month? And generally held by well-known/renowned chefs. Am keeping an eye on their offerings, and hopefully will join one of their classes soon.

These ones below I’ve not visited, but am including in the list for reference:

Dharmaputra
Jl. Tanah Abang III No. 28G (website)
(Sudut Tanah Abang III – Kesehatan Raya)
Jakarta Pusat 10160
Telp. 021-3861319, 3861320 Fax. 021-3853121

Rossy Bakery Supplier
Jl. Kaji No. 38A, Jakarta
Telp. 021-6321145, 6321147 Fax.  021-6320078

Fortuna Kursus Kue  & Memasak
Jl. KH Zainul Arifin no.37-A (Jl.Ketapang Raya)
Jakarta Pusat
Telp 021-6322937, 6323089

Look & Cook — Rina Cookies
Jl. Cempedak 45A, Kemang, Jakarta Selatan
Telp. 021-7192213, 7192214
Fax. 021-7192208

Well I certainly hope this list is helpful!
❤ Sue

Life’s Like a Box of Chocolates…

My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” — Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is remarkably good at summing up life through his wonderfully apt quotes. And I fully agree with the one above, when faced with a box of chocolates, you never know if you’re going to pick the delicious praline or creamy mocha or the citrus-y orange (unless you bother to check under the lid for full descriptions of course!) 😛 Though, unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) life doesn’t come equipped with such handy cheat-sheets!

As you may have guessed, this post is all about creating a box of chocolates or a little box of bite-sized randomness (something like a little portion of life to share with someone else!) There’s some chocolate-philosophizing for you (because really chocolate carries all the answers, if you ask me, especially dark chocolate).

I’ve never really made chocolates before, though to do it right there’s a great deal to learn about tempering and finding the right temperature, etc, etc. But my efforts are more straightforward, and started out from this lovely recipe I found for homemade peanut butter cups (a la Reese’s peanut butter cups, but homemade).

The first step is to brush chocolate up the sides of a mini cupcake wrapper to make the ‘cup’. I used a mix of dark chocolate, milk chocolate & milk chocolate mocha for the ‘cups’. Some were made with mini-cupcake wrappers like above, and some with chocolate wrappers like below. I got these gorgeous chocolate wrappers in Japan, and found them SO cute and perfectly appropriate for a chocolate gift box.

However, for this recipe would recommend rather using the paper ones as above, because they peel away rather easily, leaving one with just a nice ridged exterior to the chocolate, whereas the tougher aluminum ones below are extremely hard to peel away to eat the chocolate inside. Plus the paper shells made larger cups meaning more place for filling inside 😛

While refrigerating these cups, the next step is to prepare the filling. I did a mix of fillings, including the peanut butter filling recommended by the recipe.

Lemon cream cheese & peanut butter filled.

Peanut butter & white chocolate ganache

Oreo, lemon cream cheese & peanut butter filled.

Dark chocolate ganache (by far the best!), and cookie dough in the background.

Cookie dough! A bit too sweet, but interesting flavor.

Adding some decorativeness!

Covering up the tops, and this is what the final should look like! (But a bit neater, hopefully then mine.)

Mine has the marbled effect due to running out of dark chocolate, so mixed some milk chocolate in half way for the tops.

Mmm, and halfway through a cookie dough chocolate!

And time for recipe(s)! Basically I made all these chocolates by varying around the fillings of a base peanut butter cup recipe which follows. I really loved the simple idea of brushing chocolate up a mini cupcake wrapper to get the ‘Reese’s’ look.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups
adapted from Genesis of a Cook

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (semi-sweet, dark chocolate or white chocolate) — I used instead a bar of dark chocolate bar and milk chocolate (the dark chocolate is easiest to work with)
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of salt

Method

  1. Place two dozen mini cupcake wrappers on a baking sheet. Melt half the chocolate (in the microwave or using a double boiler/bain-marie) until smooth.
  2. Using a spoon, pour a bit of chocolate in each wrapper and use a small brush to paint the chocolate up the sides of each wrapper. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the two types of peanut butter, sugar, vanilla and salt. When it has come together, microwave until it is extremely soft (around 30 seconds should do it).
  4. Once the chocolate has set, spoon the peanut butter mixture into each cup. Refrigerate for another 30 mins.
  5. Melt the remaining chocolate and cover the tops of each cup. Refrigerate until set and enjoy!

Oreo Truffles
adapted from Bakerella‘s now-famous recipe
I followed the recipe above exactly, but used the oreo filling only from this recipe to replace the peanut butter filling above. Anyways the full recipe follows, for those who would like to try it out.

Ingredients

  • 16 oreo cookies (including the cream centers)
  • 8 oz cream cheese (softened)
  • dark, milk or white chocolate (I usually use dark)

Method

  1. Finely crush the oreo cookies in a food processor. I separate the creams when doing this.
  2. Stir in the softened cream cheese and cream centers. Use the back of a large spoon to mash the two together. Generally I don’t end up using the entire 8 oz cream cheese, so go slowly until the consistency of the mixture seems about right. If it’s too soft, it will be really difficult to handle.
  3. Refrigerate or freeze the mixture for around 5-10 minutes to make it easier to handle.
  4. Roll the mixture into 1″ balls and place on a wax paper covered cookie sheet
  5. Melt the chocolate using a double boiler. Dip the balls into the chocolate, tap off the excess and set aside on the wax paper to dry. Use a small teaspoon or fork to do this. I generally end up using two teaspoons. If needed, double dip the truffles or use a toothpick to fix errors.
  6. You can sprinkle the tops with crushed cookies for decoration. Once they are dry, refrigerate and enjoy!

Cookie Dough Filling
This is adapted from another recipe for cookie dough filling, I had lying around. A bit too sweet for my liking, but definitely an interesting idea. This recipe looks more promising, so hopefully will try it out soon!

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter at room temp
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup mini choc chips

Method

  1. Stir together butter, sugar, vanilla until smooth.
  2. Stir in chocolate chips.
  3. Place filling in each cup made as described above.
  4. Enjoy!

For the lemon cream cheese cups, I mixed together cream cheese, lemon rind, lemon juice and powdered sugar. Unfortunately can’t seem to remember the proportions at the moment, but it’s pretty simple, and can be done to one’s taste while mixing!

For the dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache, I followed this lovely recipe @ Epicurious. Do check it out, as it was very useful and simple to follow for a chocolate novice like myself. Plus the results were absolutely delicious 🙂

There’s loads more delicious fillings I can think of using the deceptively simple technique outlined above — like nutella, cappuccino mousse, cheesecake, horlicks cheesecake (which I tried, with not-so-good results), hazelnut, tiramisu and many more! So let your imagination run wild and remember the limits of your world are only constrained by your mind’s ability to conceive more. And indeed, a box of chocolates you create will be a pure illustration of what your life holds for you (well, not really, but my chocolate-philosophizing needed a good conclusion). Enjoy! 🙂

❤ Sue

Martha Stewart’s Chocolate Salted Caramel Cupcakes

Salted caramel is one of those flavors that many might find strange upon hearing of it, but honestly once you get your first taste of salted caramel there’s no looking back! My first encounter with salted caramel was @ Tom’s Palette, a yummy little ice-cream parlor in Singapore. My two flavors of choice at this parlor — chocolate sorbet and salted caramel side-by-side in a cup!

Can I just say that little tinge of salt just creates the most perfect flavor sensation when paired with melt-in-your-mouth dark chocolate ice cream and buttery caramel? Such a perfect combination! Naturally then, when flipping through my brand new copy of Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes — a gift from my sis — this wonderful recipe entitled ‘Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes’ caught my eye and soon it was time to bake them up!

Unfortunately though I couldn’t find any fleur-de-sel over here where I stay, so I used regular salt, which really just didn’t give that delicate salty sensation these cupcakes needed.


Still, I learnt to make caramel (never done before) and I loved Martha’s dark chocolate frosting recipe which piped on beautifully onto the most perfect-looking cupcakes I have ever baked! And honestly, you can’t really go wrong with dark chocolate cupcakes, filled with caramel and topped with chocolate frosting. Maybe not as good as the taste the mind conjured up, but still pretty Damn Good! Thanks, Martha! 😀

I did a mix of mini-cupcakes and normal sized cupcakes and found somehow the mini ones did just taste better! Possibly because I ran a little short of caramel (not due to the recipe, but due to a small accident which left me with a large lump of sugar and a small amount of caramel!) so the large cupcakes were slightly wanting on caramel flavor.

Chocolate Salted-Caramel Mini Cupcakes
Makes around 56 mini cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk (I substituted yoghurt in same amount)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • Salted Caramel Filling (recipe follows, keep it warm!)
  • Sea Salt (preferably fleur de sel, for garnish) — I couldn’t get this and used regular salt NOT the same thing at all!
  • Dark Chocolate Frosting (recipe follows)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350F (approx 175C). Line cupcake pan with paper liners. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add eggs, yoghurt, oil, vanilla and water. Beat at low speed with an electric mixer, until smooth and combined.
  2. Divide the batter evenly among the lined cupcakes, filling about 2/3 full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in center comes out clean — should be around 15 minutes. Cool for around 10 minutes before removing from pan.
  3. For the filling, use a paring knife to cut a cone-shaped piece (around 1/2 inch deep) from the center of each cupcake. Spoon 1-2 teaspoons warm filling into each hollowed out cupcake. (For the bigger cupcakes around 3-4 teaspoons of filling is needed with a hole of around 3/4 inch depth). Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the filling.
  4. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip (Martha recommends Wilton #18) with frosting. Pipe frosting onto each cupcake, swirling up and releasing as you pull up to form a peak. Garnish each cupcake with a pinch of sea salt. Do not refrigerate the cupcakes; store at room temperature in airtight containers. (I put mine in the refrigerator though and they were just fine).

Salted Caramel Filling
Makes around 2 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon light corn syrup (I substituted honey)
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (preferably fleur de sel)

Method

  1. Heat sugar with the water and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan over high, swirling occasionally until syrup is clear.
  2. Stop stirring and cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush as needed.
  3. Boil, gently swirling pan occasionally until mixture is caramelized and just reaches 360F (use a candy thermometer as needed)
  4. Remove from heat, and immediately (but slowly) pour in cream. The mixture will spatter. Stir with a wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in sea salt.
  5. Use immediately. If the caramel begins to harden, reheat gently until it is pourable again.

Dark Chocolate Frosting
Makes around 5 cups

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used van Houten)
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
  • 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, room temp
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, melted and cooled

Method

  1. Combine the cocoa and boiling water, stirring until the cocoa has dissolved. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar and salt until pale and fluffy.
  2. Reduce speed to low. Add melted and cooled chocolate, beating until combined and scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in the cocoa mixture.
  3. I refrigerated the frosting for around half an hour to harden it a bit (due to high humidity levels/heat where I live things melt really fast) then beat on low speed until it was smooth again. And wow, this frosting is really amazing — really smooth, dark and even quite tasty, and best of all, wonderfully pipe-able.

❤ Sue

Cupcake Craziness!

Hello world! Sorry for the lack of updates as things have been rather busy around here. I have however been baking rather a lot and am finally getting the time to share again. As you may have guessed, this post is once again devoted to that wonderful dessert — cupcakes!

So where did the term ‘cupcake’ first originate? Have you ever wondered this? Here’s some interesting info from foodtimeline.org (there’s a whole page dedicated to cake history! Do visit and check out):

Individually portioned confections have a long and venerable history. Dimunitive iterations of popular traditional baked goods are particularly enjoyed when portability and ease of service is appreciated. Cookies, tea cakes, petits fours and cupcakes all spring from the basic same idea.

There seem to be two theories about the origin of recipes titled “cupcake:”

1. The name comes from the amount of ingredients used to make the cake (a cupful of flour, a cupful of butter, cupful of sugar etc.).
—This is very similar to how pound cake was named. In fact, the recipes for cup cakes and pound cakes include pretty much the same ingredients and would have produced similar results.

2. These cakes were originally baked in cups.
—Old cookbooks also sometimes mention baking cakes in small cups. These cups may very well have been earthenware tea cups or other small clay baking pans. These would easily accomodated baking level oven heat and produce individual-sized cakes. This is not the same thing as contemporary metal cupcake pans, enabling cooks to bake a dozen small cakes in one fell culinary swoop.

Mmm, interesting info there, but whatever it is, let me just say I simply adore cupcakes and mini-cakes and -pies! As you may have realized 😉 In fact, most of my recipe books are cupcake books (will post a pic soon), and whenever possible I’ll make a big pie/cake into cupcakes! Because things just taste SO much better in small portions I think.

Unfortunately, when it comes down to decorating, I’ve always been a bit handicapped as my frosting NEVER comes out in any form that is good for decorating (always too soft, or too stiff). Until recently — perhaps 2011 will be a good year in baking for me! Will post some cupcakes recipes soon, but meanwhile let me share some decorating adventures.

To learn more about decorating, I joined this one-day cupcake workshop with my sister! See some of our efforts following.

Our teacher demonstrated how to make these chocolate cupcakes! Except she didn’t bake them but steamed them instead. They came out divinely soft and absolutely perfect looking. Must try at home soon.

Next she demonstrated some decorating techniques, using fondant and butter cream! I love the little fondant bee on the buttercream sunflower above.

Next it was time for us to demonstrate what we had learnt from the lesson. Each of us was given a box of six cupcakes (three vanilla/three chocolate) to decorate. Here’s my box, an untouched canvas of foodie art-to-be!

Ta-da! My sister’s gorgeous completed box.

And here’s mine!

I’ve finally learnt how to create a proper buttercream swirl. Now hopefully I can re-create this at home some day soon.

This was one of my favorites from my box — the boy and girl are shaped from fondant and resting on blue fondant which is covering the cupcake. The red rosettes are buttercream.

This was my other favorite from the box! This one was completely unplanned but in the end I think it may be my most favorite. The green ‘grass’ is piped on buttercream, the yellow rosettes are also buttercream. The larger yellow flowers are fondant with buttercream piped in the centers and the butterflies are also fondant.

This was a really fun day class! Next must try to recreate at home if possible!

Do also check out some of my favorite cupcake resources around the web:-

❤ Sue

Its shiok only when its spicy!

Growing up on nasi padang, I must admit that when dining out, I would avoid eating this staple meal of rice served with different types of meat and vegetable dishes.

One exception to this rule is Hajah Maimunah. I live pretty near the Joo Chiat branch, which means its easy for me to get my fix of one of the best nasi padang in Singapore. Expect to queue up at least 15 mins during lunch time though. My personal favourites here are:

  • Ayam rendang
  • Ayam lemak chilli padi
  • Black pepper beef
  • Sambal prawn
  • Sweet and sour fish
  • Omelette
  • Tahu telor

Dishes in all their splendour

You must have a high threshold of spicyness to fully enjoy the experience as the best and most flavourful dishes are also the hottest ones. Go in a big group so you can order as many dishes as possible! I mostly come here for a special lunch treat with my colleagues. so we can sample as much food as possible!

xoxo,
miss 241

What’s a teppanyaki without smoke?

Its hard to find good halal Japanese food in Singapore. Hence when the die-hard foodie in me heard of a new establishment by a Muslim owner, I jumped at the chance to venture there. Yureka Teppanyaki is located at Springleaf Gardens, along Upper Thompson Road. Having no idea how to get there, I decided to cab down with a friend to have dinner there. We nearly missed the restaurant because the signboard wasn’t that prominent compared to the other shops facing the road. We were really relieved when we spotted it!

The branding and design colours are so pychedelic!

Naturally, the choice was to sit at the teppanyaki area and watch the chef in action. I was drawn to the aroma of the cooking meat and the sizzling grill. Note that the sitting area here is cramped and the food smell really really sticks to your clothes afterwards.

Sat directly across the chef

The menu offerings included the usual Japanese fare – sushi, sashimi, noodles, teppanyaki (off course), plus a few other non-Japanese food which I presume is targeted at the older generation – like my mother whose palate can’t take Japanese.  The prices are affordable, think less than 20 bucks and without service charge! I ordered the chicken rendang teppanyaki, a fusion of Malay-Japanese tastes. The chicken was tender and the rendang flavour came out strongly. The chicken came in bite-sized portions together with beansprouts, rice and miso. I normally hate beansprouts with a passion, but I liked how crunchy this was done and didn’t have that awful bitter taste. It reminded me of stir-fried vegetables. 🙂

Chicken rendang teppanyaki with beansprouts

At this point I must also make special mention of the sauces. The chilli/sambal was reminiscent more of a Malay restaurant than a Japanese one hehe.

With the sauce!

My friend had the salmon teppanyaki and she absolutely loved it! Tried some and I must agree with her. The texture was soft and the teriyaki sauce was light.

Salmon teppanyaki

I also took away some sushi rolls, but didn’t think it was anything special. I would recommend having the teppanyaki here, since its what the place is known for.  Yureka Teppanyaki is not a purely authentic Japanese restaurant, as obviously the food has been adapted to local Malay tastes but its still a good effort by the owner to give the Muslim population here a taste of Japan. 🙂

xoxo,
miss 241