Revealing 29.1 ... and Pandan Kaya Pound Cake

"Toast & tea, with friends of the soul

Many a heartbreak, and damage control,

Rainy days, and nights at end

Rules that were always available to bend,

Party nights, indecisive future to seek

Graduations, new jobs, love so meek

And even though life moves along,

Oh Singapore, you will always be home!"

I apologise it took me so long to post this recipe. It has been due for a while. But there is good reason behind it. I promise. 

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Goodbye 2014 : A Food Photo Essay

It's the 29th! What better a date than this to recap the 29. endeavors in 2014.

2014 was a special year for me.  I completed my first full year as a chef. Yay! Swapping careers took a while, and despite the many times when I questioned the decision, I am happy to report that I am indeed exhilarated. This year was about growth, learning, accomplishments, partnerships and tiny milestones that mean a lot, yet keep me humble. The only drawback of being your own boss is that there is no team to throw a holiday party with! But I'd like to believe that I'm in part celebrating with hundreds of new friends I made in 2014. Wherever in the world they might be. (Are you listening folks?)

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Raw Grape and Ginger Soup

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"Grapes are a favorite, and not only as wine,

I love them as a snack, natural & fine

Sweet as Fall, they create a soup swell

Raw, vegan, glutenfree, and sugar-free as well!

Just blend it all up, with spices favorite few

Leave it to chill, and there's a recipe new

Not complicated, doesn't take all your time free

Delicious & easy, as easy as cooking can be!"

 

Ingredients

1 pound seedless green grapes

1 inch piece of fresh ginger

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

6-8 fresh mint leaves

1/4 teaspoon paprika/chili powder (adjust to taste)

1/4 teaspoon black salt/rock salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Pinch of salt

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Wash the grapes and remove from stem. Put in a blender along with ginger, lemon juice & mint. Blend till smooth. Stir in all the dry spices (adjust seasoning to taste) and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. Serve chilled.

Yes, that's it!

A refreshing, raw and uber healthy soup to accompany your fall table.

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Chocolate Cardamom Cream Puffs

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“Light & airy, in a bite

You seem like nothing, but have that might

Creamy, oozy, Mmmm.. you sound

Of happiness, smiles, and love newly found

Pop in a few, and those worries run

It’s song and dance, and all things fun

What’re you waiting for, c’mon off you go

Roll up your sleeves, and make a few!”

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I have always been scared of puffs. And all things pastry. But these little bites of cloud were very so easy to make, and turned out pretty darn well for my first attempt! Oh, and as always, I filled them with a cardamom flavored chocolate cream for a sneaky indian twist!

Hopefully this post will encourage all those who have been shying away from making puffs, to don that apron and give it a bake.

Ingredients

Puffs (makes 15-18 bite sized puffs)

½ cup boiling water

¼ cup (4 tbsp) unsalted butter

½ cup flour

A pinch of salt salt

2 large eggs

Filling

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 teaspoons cocoa powder

¾ teaspoon brown sugar

2 green cardamom, crushed

Make the filling

Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Fold in the sugar, cardamom & cocoa. Give it another quick whip till the cocoa is well blended. Discard the cardamom skin and refrigerate for at least an hour to get it chilled.

Make the puffs

Boil the water in a saucepan. Add the butter to the water and stir until melted. Stir in the flour & salt, and mix well till the dough starts to come together and a sticky, homogeneous ball is formed (see below).

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Remove from heat and add 1 of the eggs. Beat well and let the mixture stand for 3-5 minutes. Add the other egg and, once again, beat well. Let it stand for 10 minutes. Mix for the last time and put the mixture into a piping bag. Snip off the edge of the bag, and put dollops of the mixture on a cookie tray, approximately 2 inches apart. You may use a spoon to do this, but the dough is rather sticky so I find it easier to use a bag!

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Pre heat the oven to 375 F and bake for 20-25 minutes, till the crust is light brown and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Mine were done in 22 minutes.

Cool completely and then fill with a teaspoon of the cocoa cardamom cream. Eat immediately.

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You can use a variety of fillings such as banana cream, rum ganache (trust me on this one!), vanilla custard, ice cream (mmm!) or even go savory with chicken or a creamy salad. Let your imagination run wild, and enjoy this light & creamy snack bite-sized snack!

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Dinner Under The Bridges - A PopUp Picnic

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"It's September! see what a season brings, a cooling breeze, and your heart does sing

Changes to the plate, and that sullen mood, it's time to reconnect with your food

Take a gamble, give a new cuisine a try, perhaps a spiced fritter in lieu of that french fry?

Whatever you dare, it'll be oh-so neat, for there will be new storytellers you'll meet

There is magic on a table that shares, moments of unparalleled freedom from worldly cares

So eat, smile, give a compliment or two...nothing like happiness from a taste new!

When you're done, take a look around, count the new friends you just found

Wasn't this as simple as just being you? and that my friends, is a dining experience true!"

You know those weeks when you wake up everyday and something seems to go wrong? This, is definitely NOT it. This week I feel elated, accomplished and pretty exhausted. Go on, ask me why.

On Wednesday, in a collaboration with Komeeda NYC, I hosted a popup picnic dinner under the Brooklyn & Manhattan Bridges. The setting was perfect, the wind was on our side, the sunset gleaned brighter than usual and along with my wonderful co-host, the guests were just the kind of bunch you want to spend a random NYC Wednesday evening with. In short, it was magical. And I was so glad to be a part of creating it all.

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In a true 29. style, the meal consisted of a 5-course indian inspired menu. The guests were welcomed with mini spicy rice frittata bites smothered in mint yogurt and curried eggplant toasties. Not a bad way to begin eh? While they said their hellos, got to know each other, and prepared for the surprise that awaited, we lit some candles, spread out the cushions and worked our way to the highlight of the day - the dinner.

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As the sun set over the Brooklyn & Manhattan bridges, our popup came to life. The courses, seasonal, balanced and apparently scrumptious (duh!), started with a raw Chilled Green Grape Soup with with mint, ginger & spices. A roasted Chickpea Chaat in a tangy tamarind vinaigrette colored the plates next. Then came the Fishcake Sliders - my personal favorite - and complementing it was a little game to keep our guests in the spirit (and occupied while I plated the next course!). The fourth and final savory course was a trio of Turmeric Pilaf, Masala Chicken & Spiced Lentil Broth. I had to respect the carrot season so the dessert was one of my regulars, Carrot Halwa drizzled with gooey homemade burnt sugar caramel & coconut dust. (Mmm, I might have some leftovers as I type..)

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Chickpea Chaat (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

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Sliders (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

Pilaf Trio (©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com)

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Needless to say I had fun. And as I leave with you with a more visuals of an event that we would've loved to meet you at, a BIG shout out to all those who came! Especially my collaborator-in-crime and the brain behind Komeeda, Jabber, and our shutter-eye for the evening, Felix, who's photos reflect the very essence of the event! (Check out his photography at Cooperfield Weddings)

Oh, and there is much more where this came from. 'Nuff said. Watch this space!

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©Komeeda

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©Komeeda

 

©FelixChen-CopperfieldWeddings.com

Maple Yogurt w/ Cinnamon Ginger Plum Compote

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"Red fiery red, swirled with white

Like ribbons of energy, in a dark lifeless night..

A burst of flavor, tart, sweet & spice

Your go to snack, when dessert doesn't suffice.

Quick to whip up, pleases the mid day munch

A luscious splash,  and a recipe emerging from a hunch!"

 

Ingredients

2 ripe plums, pitted and chopped into pieces

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 cup thick yogurt (greek or otherwise)

2 teaspoons dark maple syrup

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Heat a non stick pan. Add sugar, along with 3 tablespoons water and allow the sugar to melt. Once melted, add the ginger and cook for a few minutes. Stir in the plums, cinnamon & vanilla essence. Cover and cook on medium flame till plums are tender.

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Turn heat to high, and mash the pulp with a spoon. Continue cooking till most of the liquid is absorbed and you get a jam like consistency - but don't let it get too thick. Remove from heat and cool.

Mix the yogurt & maple syrup till smooth & creamy. Add a dollop of the compote in a tall glass, followed by the yogurt. Refrigerate for 2 hours & serve cold.

A creamy, low fat dessert with hints of summer fruit & spice!

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Summer Popsicles

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“Oh how I love summer, it’s sun & swings

The chime of the truck, when ice-cream vendors’ sing

A lick of flavor, as it drips down my elbow

That treat I get, for every finished chore

Red, yellow, green, a flavor for every color I know

But mummy says, she can make many many more..

So this fall, I’ll keep the warmth in my heart

With a freezer full of popsicles, sweet, spicy and tart!”

Popsicles - a chef's way of preserving summer.

Fall is on it's way. And before you know it, all the colors around us will fade into brown. A beautiful brown. But nevertheless, brown. So this year I have decided to keep my warm fuzzy memories of summer in frozen treats!

There are a million ways to make popsicles. And most too-easy-to-need-a-recipe. Take a drink you like, and freeze it. Seriously. But then you can get fancy, without making it too complicated, and here are some of the lickingly-delish combinations I tried this season.

A classic combination, with a little twist. One of my favorites!

Banana, Coconut & Burnt Sugar

2 bananas, cut into pieces

½ cup whole milk

2 teaspoons burnt sugar, palm sugar or thick caramel

2 tablespoons coconut flakes

 Throw everything into a blender and pulse till smooth. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.

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For those who like a kick, even in their iced treats!

Mango Paprika & Lime

1 large mango (more ripe the better)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

¼ teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon sugar (or to taste) – only if the mango isn’t sweet enough.

 Throw everything into a blender and pulse till smooth. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.

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The tartness of red cherries with cream is a match made in heaven. Oh, and it creates such a beautiful color!

Red Cherry & Cream

1 cup fresh cherries, pitted

½ cup whipping cream

¼ cup whole milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons brown sugar (more if the cherries are sour)

Blend the cherries, maple syrup & sugar till smooth. Add a few teaspoons of water if required. Add the milk and give it a few more pulses.

Whip the cream till soft peaks form. Fold the cream into the cherry mixture till smooth. Don’t over mix or the cherries might curdle the cream. Put into moulds and freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.

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Too hot to drink your chai? Well you can lick on it instead.

Masala Chai

½ cup whole milk

½ cup heavy whipping cream

2 green cardamom pods

3 cloves

½ teaspoon fennel seeds

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated

2 teaspoons black tea leaves

¼ cup water

2 teaspoons sugar (or more – depends how sweet you like your tea!)

Crush the cardamom, cloves & fennel coarsely in a grinder (you can also do with a mortar & pestle). Mix the cream, milk & water and bring to a simmer – do not let it boil or the cream might curdle. Add the tea leaves, crushed spices and sugar and simmer for a few minutes till you get a golden brown color. Remove from heat and cool the mixture a little. Stir in the ginger and bring to a second simmer. Adjust sweetness and strain into moulds. Freeze for 6-8 hours or overnight.

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